Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
There looks to be nothing stopping the New Zealand-trained filly Melody Belle in the JJ Atkins next-up after her runaway 2017 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes win first-up at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Prepared across the Tasman by Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards, the well-bred Commands filly made the trip down under having won three of her five career starts back home.
Melody Belle’s last start produced a Group 1 Sires’ win over 1400m on April 1 and she went into the $250,000 Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in Brisbane on Kingsford-Smith Cup Day on the back of an important Deagon trial over 1050m when second on May 9 in the hit-out.
“She trialled really well there,” co-trainer Richards said post-win on Saturday.
“She’s a robust little filly when she wants to be.”
That trial was on Heavy going and despite being untested on a mud track under race conditions, she proved she could handle the conditions without a worry with her five lengths win on the Heavy (8) Eagle Farm course.
“We didn’t expect her to put them away [today] the way she did on the ground,” Richards admitted.
“We were mindful that she hadn’t run in a little while…and it was the 1400m on the Heavy ground.”
Ridden by Kiwi hoop Opie Bosson, Melody Belle was up on speed early in the Group 2 lead-up into the $600,000 Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) that runs at the same track on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 10.
Eventual last-past-the-post Ours To Keep was taken to the front setting the pace ahead of Godolphin’s Malahat, Ruby Red Heart and the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Taking Aim who was ridden by Hugh Bowman from a wide alley.
Melody Belle meanwhile got into a nice position settled about fifth in running.
“It was a super ride from Opie,” Richards said.
“He put her in a gun spot.”
Bosson began his move on the favourite who was looming large as the turn for home approached, Bowman also moving up at this stage on last start Group 3 Ken Russell winner over 1200m at the Gold Coast Taking Aim.
Team Snowden’s progressive Choisir colt Taking Aim briefly hit the front before being tackled by Melody Belle who shot out to race five lengths clear and charge home in a very dominant performance.
Rounding out the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes trifecta in third was the lightly-raced Gregory Hickman-trained Pierro colt Pierata in just his third trip to the races.
It is now onwards and upwards to the JJ Atkins with Melody Belle sure to jump dominant favourite in markets for the Group 1 in a fortnight.
“She should improve further hopefully,” Richards said.
“She’s by Commands out of a good staying sort of New Zealand family so hopefully in two weeks she’ll be spot on.”
Bosson agreed that Melody Belle now looked the one to beat in next month’s JJ Atkins with a mile to be right up her alley.
“She’s just relaxed super and going to a mile next time will be ideal,” he said.
The last two-year-old to complete the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes – JJ Atkins double was Sizzling (2012), while the New Zealand-trained Sacred Elixir won the Group 1 last year improving on a lead-up sixth in the Sires’.
2017 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Eagle Farm Race 3 – 27/05/2017
|1||14||MELODY BELLE (NZ)||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||–||Opie Bosson||7||55kg||$5F|
|2||3||TAKING AIM||Peter & Paul Snowden||Hugh Bowman||4.1L||15||57kg||$8|
|3||13||PIERATA||Gregory Hickman||Corey Brown||5.4L||5||57kg||$16|
|4||5||SAINT PATRICKS DAY||Chris Munce||Ronnie Stewart||8.2L||6||57kg||$21|
|5||7||CAPITAL GAIN||Paul Butterworth||Jim Byrne||8.3L||4||57kg||$13|
|6||4||ALL TOO HUIYING||Gary Moore||Brenton Avdulla||11.1L||3||57kg||$10|
|7||9||QIJI PHOENIX||Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs||Leith Innes||11.2L||18||57kg||$8.50|
|8||16||MARSEILLE EN FLEUR||Stuart Kendrick||Luke Tarrant||12.5L||11||55kg||$101|
|9||10||PAH TERIE||Kelly Schweida||Mark Zahra||12.6L||14||57kg||$61|
|10||1||TANGLED||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||13L||8||57kg||$7|
|11||11||MALAHAT||Darren Beadman||James Doyle||13.5L||13||57kg||$6.50|
|12||17||RUBY RED HEART||John Zielke||Luke Dittman||13.7L||2||55kg||$61|
|13||6||EMINENT||David Vandyke||Michael Cahill||15.2L||17||57kg||$81|
|14||8||MISHANI BULLITT||Chris Anderson||Brad Stewart||20L||1||57kg||$51|
|15||18||SHOWASHADOW||Peter & Will Hulbert||Micheal Hellyer||20.3L||9||55kg||$101|
|16||12||NOBLE HUSSLER||Liam Birchley||Jeff Lloyd||24.6L||16||57kg||$81|
|17||15||CHAMP ELECT||Chris Munce||Damian Browne||26.1L||10||55kg||$61|
|18||2||OURS TO KEEP||Chris Munce||Dwayne Dunn||28.6L||12||57kg||$41|
|–||22e||ICON OF DUBAI||Peter & Paul Snowden||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||21e||ITALIA BELLA||Stuart Kendrick||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||19e||LORD CECIL||Paul Messara||Blake Shinn||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||SNITZEPEG||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||–||0||–||–|
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