Melody Belle (NZ) Wins Epic Battle of Star Karaka GraduatesSaturday, Mar 9, 2019
Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and Danzdanzdance (Mastercraftsman) are two outstanding, multiple Group 1-winning mares who went through the Karaka sale ring as yearlings. They met for the first time in Saturday’s $200,000 Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, and Melody Belle prevailed after a titanic battle.
Melody Belle cost just $57,500 at the 2016 Premier Sale, and she more than repaid that with a two-year-old campaign that included victories in the $1m Karaka Million (1200m), the Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) and a Group Two in Australia.
But Melody Belle has been extraordinary as a four-year-old in 2018-19, winning the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m), Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) and Group 1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m). On Saturday she claimed her fifth Group 1 of the season, but a worthy adversary made her work for it.
Danzdanzdance cost just $5,000 at the 2016 Select Sale. A placegetter in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) last season, she has become an elite performer this season with four-length victories in the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and Zabeel Classic (2000m).
The stage was set for a great battle, and both mares delivered. They drew almost four lengths clear of the rest of the field in the straight, fighting out a great finish with Melody Belle winning by a neck for trainer Jamie Richards and jockey Opie Bosson.
“I said during the week that it was going to be good to see two top mares go toe to toe, and thankfully we have come out on top,” Richards said. “She goes to the paddock now, hopefully as Horse of the Year.
“Hopefully we might have a look at Melbourne in the spring – the Cox Plate (2040m) has to be a target).”
Raced by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, Melody Belle has now had 20 starts for 11 wins, three placings and $1.625 million in stakes – more than 28 times her purchase price.
Danzdanzdance, who is now likely to represent New Zealand during the Sydney autumn carnival, has had 13 starts for four wins, five placings and $484,213 for her large syndicate of owners – more than 96 times her purchase price.
“We’re very proud of her, it was a huge run,” co-trainer Chris Gibbs said.
“Congratulations to Jamie Richards and Melody Belle, we had her headed at the 150 metres and she kicked back.”
|Purchaser||Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)|
|Breeding||Commands – Meleka Belle|
|Sale||Lot 395, 2016 Premier Sale, $57,500|
|Bred by||Mrs N M Leicester|