Phenomenal Weekend of Racing for Karaka Graduates

10th Group One for Magnificent Melody Belle (NZ)

Melody Belle (NZ) wins Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).
Melody Belle (NZ) wins 10th Group One in Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).

$57,500 Select Sale purchase Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) took her outstanding form to one of Australasian racing’s biggest stages on Saturday, winning the A$1 million Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington.

The win took Melody Belle’s earnings past $2.5 million for owners the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, which is more than 43 times the price Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis paid for her at Karaka.

The Empire Rose Stakes was the mighty Matamata mare’s 10th Group One victory, and her seventh in 2019 – the most by any horse in the world. Star American turf horse Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) is the next best with five.

An elite-level victory in Australia was the only uncharted territory for the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year, and on Saturday she delivered with a supreme performance.

She had drawn a wide barrier and was unable to get any closer than three wide, although jockey Opie Bosson was able to at least find cover. Rounding the home turn, Melody Belle had only three horses behind her in a strung-out field.

But then she unleashed an enormous finish down the straight, storming past Aristia (Lonrho) and powering clear to win by a length and a half.

"To do it on both sides of the Tasman and win 10 Group One races, not many can do that," Bosson said. “Every time you go out, she gives you 110%.

“I was always travelling beautifully. I was three deep the whole trip, so she didn’t do it the easy way. I love her to bits, she just doesn’t know when to stop.”

Trained by Jamie Richards, Melody Belle has now won 15 of her 25 starts.

"She's a fabulous horse and she's been so good for my career," Richards said. "We're proud Kiwis and we're glad to be over here representing the country.

Gingernuts (NZ) (Iffraaj) winning the Rosehill Guineas was pretty special, but to come to Melbourne in the spring, it’s a big thrill to be competitive.”

It was also a proud moment for Ellis, a perennial leading buyer at the National Yearling Sales Series.

“We put in an enormous amount of work before going to the sales in search of horses like Melody Belle,” he said.

“We’ve bought some magnificent racehorses over the years, but for this mare to have won 10 Group One races is something else. It makes me incredibly proud, and I’d like to congratulate Jamie (Richards), John (Galvin, syndicate manager), and all the Te Akau staff.

“It’s just a fantastic day for Te Akau and the New Zealand racing industry.”

Melody Belle was bred by Marie Leicester and was sold at Karaka by Haunui Farm.

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Commands – Meleka Belle
Sale Lot 395, 2016 Premier Sale, $57,500
Bred by Mrs N M Leicester

Kolding (NZ) Flies High in Golden Eagle

Kolding (NZ) claims inaugural Iron Jack Golden Eagle (1500m).
Kolding (NZ) claims inaugural Iron Jack Golden Eagle (1500m).

The inaugural A$7.5 million Iron Jack Golden Eagle (1500m) lit up Rosehill on Saturday, with Karaka graduate Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park) bursting out of traffic for a brilliant win.

The four-year-old was already a proven big-race performer, having earned more than A$1 million with three stakes wins including last month’s Group One Epsom Handicap (1600m).

But Saturday’s massive victory boosted his career earnings to A$5.1 million, which is more than 30 times the $170,000 Mulcaster Bloodstock paid for him at the 2017 Premier Sale.

Expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller admitted to some concerns as Kolding was blocked and desperately searching for a run in the straight. But when jockey Glen Boss found a way through, Kolding soared past Sunlight (Zoustar) with an explosive finishing burst.

“What a thrill,” Waller said. “He looked as if he was going to be very unlucky, he was like a pinball machine up the straight.

“When he got out, I thought, ‘Oh no, the winning post is going to come up a bit quick.’ But he’s a great horse, he had to lift and he was very impressive.

“Forget his first runs, the second half of this horse’s career has been something else.”

Raced by Neville Morgan, Kolding has now had 15 starts for eight wins and four placings.

“I’m privileged to be part of Team Waller, Neville Morgan’s family and this horse, because he’s a serious animal,” Boss said. “He’s a gelding, so he’ll be here for a long time – we’re gonna have some fun.

“I had nowhere to go in the straight – wow, he’s brave. He’s a star. His form was the best going into the race. I knew I was on the right horse.

“He’s got a very good turn of speed, this horse. It was tight and he was willing.”

Kolding was bred by Warren Pegg in partnership with Wentwood Grange, and he sold through Wentwood Grange’s draft at the 2017 Premier Sale.

Vendor Wentwood Grange
Purchaser Mulcaster Bloodstock (Auckland)
Breeding Ocean Park – Magic Star
Sale Lot 269, 2017 Premier Sale, $170,000
Bred by W Pegg

Karaka Quinella in Wakeful

Miami Bound (NZ) takes out Group Two Wakeful Stakes (2000m).
Miami Bound (NZ) takes out Group Two Wakeful Stakes (2000m).

Two fillies purchased from Book 1 of Karaka 2018 were clearly superior to the rest of the field in Saturday’s A$300,000 Group Two G.H. Mumm Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, fighting out an exciting finish.

The winner Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man) was a $120,000 purchase by O’Brien Thoroughbreds, while gallant runner-up Vegas Jewel (NZ) (Shocking) was bought for $130,000 by Eales Racing.

The pair asserted their superiority late in Saturday’s race, leaving the rest of the field six lengths behind them in the straight. It was a desperate two-horse battle to the finish, which Miami Bound won by a neck.

Miami Bound has now had six starts for three wins, two placings and A$282,750 in stakes – more than two and a half times her purchase price.

Trainer Danny O’Brien will line her up in Thursday’s A$1 million Kennedy VRC Oaks (2500m), a race her dam Arapaho Miss (Danehill Dancer) won in 2007.

“We've always known once this filly got out over ground, she was going to be hard to beat in anything we put her in,” O'Brien said.

“We've been pretty open about the preparation all spring that we were only having her peaking for one week and that was this week.

“We've got the first bit of it out of the way and it's usually a pretty good guide to Thursday. She'll be better again when she gets out to 2500 metres.”

Miami Bound was bred by Westbury Stud owner Gerry Harvey and was sold through Westbury’s draft.

Meanwhile, runner-up Vegas Jewel has had four starts for two wins and two placings, eclipsing her purchase price with A$130,150 in prize-money to date.

Vendor Westbury Stud
Purchaser O’Brien Thoroughbreds (Victoria)
Breeding Reliable Man – Arapaho Miss
Sale Lot 34, Karaka 2018 Book 1, $120,000
Bred by Gerry Harvey

Toms (NZ) Follows in Brothers’ Footsteps

Toms (NZ) successful win in Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2200m).
Toms (NZ) successful win in Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2200m).

With a strong win in Saturday’s $50,000 Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2200m) at Awapuni, Toms (NZ) (Towkay) became the third son of broodmare Steel Stilettos (Hussonet) to be offered at a New Zealand Bloodstock Sale and go on to achieve black-type success.

Breeders Cheryl Wilson and Bruce Sheat also offered Boots ‘N’ All (NZ) (Perfectly Ready) and Air Max (NZ) (Nadeem) at the South Island Sale. Both horses were passed in.

Boots ‘N’ All won 10 races and more than $280,000 in stakes, with two Listed wins and four placings at Group Two and Group Three level.

Air Max has so far won two of his eight starts and more than $75,000, taking out the Listed Gore Guineas (1335m) and Dunedin Guineas (1500m) earlier this year.

Toms was bought for $12,000 at the 2015 Festival Sale by David Haworth, who owns and trains the gelding in partnership with his daughter Emma.

The Feilding Gold Cup was his sixth win from 25 starts and lifted his earnings to $126,900 – more than 10 times his purchase price.

It was his first stakes win, and it came with an irresistible finish out of midfield in the hands of Johnathan Parkes.

“Toms has really come of age this year,” Emma Haworth said. “He developed really nicely through last season and put together a few wins at the end of that campaign, but he wasn’t really happy on those heavy tracks. We were confident he’d be even better on top of the ground, so it was really good to see him come out and win a race like that.

“We’ll probably have a go at some more Cup races down the track. A race like the Manawatu Cup (2300m) might be a good one to have a crack at.”

Vendor Brighthill Farm
Purchaser Mr DR Haworth (Levin)
Breeding Towkay – Steel Stilettos
Sale Lot 1192, 2015 Festival Sale, $12,000
Bred by B A Sheat & Mrs C P Wilson

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