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Bonny Kiwi mare Melody Belle proved her star status was not limited to across the Tasman with the Jamie Richards-trained flyer celebrating her 10th Group 1 success but her first down under in the Empire Rose Stakes 2019.
There is no bigger stage than Flemington on Derby Day and it was a huge thrill for Richards and connections to take out the Group 1 $1 million Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) with Melody Belle kicking off the elite level action on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“It’s a big thrill,” Richards said.
“She won well.
“This is awesome, this is what it’s all about.”
The five-year-old daughter of Commands had been in outstanding form back home winning her past three starts in Group 1 company at Hastings ahead of trip to Australia.
She was a Brisbane winner as a two-year-old in the wet before a Group 1 flop behind Capital Gain in the 2017 J.J. Atkins.
As a three-year-old filly Melody Belle tried again this time in Sydney but was unplaced in both her Randwick starts in the autumn of 2018.
Since then she has gone from strength-to-strength winning 10 of her last 13 runs including the Empire Rose Stakes in her Melbourne race debut.
New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson travelled over for the ride in the mile classic where Melody Belle was on the drift in Empire Rose Stakes betting as the easing favourite after her wide barrier 13 of 16 draw.
The gate proved a non-issue as she relished the Soft track conditions and Bosson allowed her to settle back in the race as Miss Siska led the field around.
The front-runner was quickly put under pressure on the turn for home, last year’s Wakeful Stakes – VRC Oaks winner Aristia driving up on the inside along the fence at the 300m to take the lead.
Melody Belle however came with her late run flying down the outside at the 150m to charge home and beat Aristia by one and a half lengths.
Rounding out the Empire Rose Stakes trifecta in a distant third was then Ken Keys’ last start Ladies’ Day Vase winner at Caulfield Spanish Reef.
“It just goes to show how good and versatile she is,” Bosson said of the Empire Rose Stakes winner after the victory.
“She doesn’t know when no to try…she just gives you 110 (percent).
“I was always travelling beautifully. She was three wide the trip, so she didn’t do it the easy way, but she relaxed beautifully.
“Her wet track form’s excellent so I wasn’t worried about the rain.”
There is now a chance that Richards will race on with Melody Belle on the quick back-up into Saturday week’s Group 1 $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
The latest 2019 Mackinnon Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Melody belle as the equal $6 favourite with three other horses in a wide-open market along with Humidor, Thought Of That and Kings Will Dream.
Click here for the latest Mackinnon Stakes betting markets.
2019 Empire Rose Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||MELODY BELLE (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||–||13||57kg||$3.80F|
|2||3||ARISTIA||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Craig Williams||1.5L||1||57kg||$17|
|3||6||SPANISH REEF||Ken Keys||Mark Zahra||3.25L||6||57kg||$20|
|4||7||PRINCESS JENNI (NZ)||David Brideoake||Damien Oliver||4L||10||57kg||$14|
|5||12||BACCARAT BABY||David Vandyke||Micheal Hellyer||6.5L||3||57kg||$21|
|6||8||NOIRE||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||7.25L||11||57kg||$41|
|7||9||POHUTUKAWA||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||7.35L||7||57kg||$4.40|
|8||14||MISS SISKA||Grahame Begg||Ms Linda Meech||7.45L||2||57kg||$26|
|9||10||NETTOYER||Wendy Roche||Brad Rawiller||8.7L||9||57kg||$16|
|10||15||FIDELIA||Robbie Griffiths||Jamie Mott||10.7L||16||57kg||$19|
|11||13||ANGELIC RULER||Daniel & Ben Pearce||Brett Prebble||10.9L||15||57kg||$26|
|12||1||INVINCIBELLA||Chris Waller||John Allen||11.2L||14||57kg||$21|
|13||4||SAVATIANO||James Cummings||James Doyle||11.7L||12||57kg||$8.50|
|14||11||SPANISH WHISPER||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||14.95L||8||57kg||$41|
|15||5||AMPHITRITE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Luke Nolen||19.95L||4||57kg||$31|
|16||16||NAIVASHA||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||25.95L||5||57kg||$201|
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