Melody Belle to target Futurity Stakes and All-Star Mile

Trainer Jamie Richards and Te Akau Racing have finalised the programs for class performers Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark who will been seen in Australia in the late summer/autumn.

New Zealand champion Melody Belle won the Group One Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on November 2 and ran second to Irish mare Magic Wand in the Mackinnon Stakes a week later.

Te Akau Shark was last seen when third in the Cox Plate behind Lys Gracieux and Castelvecchio.

“Melody Belle has had her first couple of pieces of work and is coming along nicely,” Richards told NZ Racing Desk.

“She will have an exhibition gallop at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night (Jan 25) and then a trial at Te Aroha (Feb 4).

“She will go straight to Melbourne for the Futurity Stakes at Caufield on February 22 and then into the All-Star Mile (1600m), which is her major target.

“Te Akau Shark had some nice time off in the paddock but is back in work now as well.

“He is going to trial at Matamata and then will have an exhibition gallop before tackling the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa (February 8).

“He will head to Sydney after that where his main aim is the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the last day of the Championships (April 11).”

Richards is also keen to bring Saturday’s Awapuni winner Probabeel back to Australia but is looking at Melbourne fearing a wet Sydney autumn.

“She did all she had to do and has pulled up well after her exertions. She did leave a bit of feed last night which is to be expected and is very bright this morning,” he said.

“She will now head to the Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie on the 25 th and then we will decide on her next move after that.

“We’re looking at Australia but whether that is in Melbourne for a race like the Australian Guineas or Sydney for the Surround Stakes is still to be decided.

“Every time we have gone to Sydney with her we have struck wet tracks, so that will be a consideration.”

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au