New Zealand’s queen of the turf, Melody Belle, will be out to secure her crowning glory in a red-hot G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), centrepiece of The Championships at Randwick next Saturday, after her brave fourth-place behind lightly weighted Nettoyer in the G1 Doncaster Mile there yesterday.
The ten-time G1 winner sat three wide the trip for regular rider Opie Bosson and looked to be a winning chance on the turn before her 57kg impost told in the final stages of the race.
Fortuna Syndicate manager John Galvin said he was proud of Melody Belle’s brave effort (see video below). “We got a three-wide run and that was always going to be a risk from the draw . We didn’t get any luck, but she loomed on the turn and she looked like a strong winning chance with 300m to go.
“The lighter-weighted horses just ran past her in the last little bit. But I couldn’t be happier with her. She has put on a really brave performance.”
Melody Belle will now likely back-up in the Queen Elizabeth providing the Jamie Richards-trained mare comes through yesterday’s contest in good order. “The Queen Elizabeth was her primary goal and we needed to find a race between the All-Star Mile and the Queen Elizabeth,” Galvin said. “The [Doncaster Mile] was perfect for her with the gap between those races. We always knew she would have to carry some weight in this with her being the highest-rated horse in the race. But that is what handicap racing is all about.
“She did her best under the weight and if she backs up next week in the Queen Elizabeth, which is our plan, she will be back to weight-for-age and up to 2000m. She will be very competitive in that race as well.”
While disappointed he was unable to be in Sydney for the race because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Galvin said a large group of syndicate members were cheering the mare on throughout New Zealand.
“I am sure there were people up and down the country all watching from inside their bubbles. It is a shame we couldn’t be there, but that’s the way it is. She is a flagship horse for us and Te Akau Racing and it has been a wonderful ride for all of us and it is great to have a horse like that in the team.”
One of Melody Belle’s chief rivals next week will be stablemate Te Akau Shark, in what shapes as a vintage Queen Elizabeth field, also featuring Addeybb, trained by William Haggas in the UK and already a G1 winner in Australia this autumn, and the favourite, the Japanese star Danon Premium