The darling of the New Zealand turf is nearing a return to the track after a favourable winter preparation.
Melody Belle, who is all but assured of taking home the title of New Zealand Horse of the Year after winning five Group One races this season, has pleased trainer Jamie Richards with her work and he said she will likely trial at Te Rapa in the coming weeks.
“We are looking forward to next season with her,” he said. “She has done well through the winter and she will trial in about ten days at Te Rapa. She will have a couple of trials like she did last year.”
The rising five-year-old daughter of Commands is set to take a similar path in the spring as last year, however, the Fortuna Syndicate-raced mare will also tackle the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings.
“If the weather plays havoc she’ll just shoot away for a gallop and then she will head to the Foxbridge (Gr.2, 1200m). We have opted to try and win the triple crown at Hastings with her.”
While a tilt at Australia in the spring remains a possibility, her connections are eyeing the All Star Mile (1600m) in autumn.
“We’ll just see how her form is like in the spring, what we would like to do is get her ready for the All Star Mile at Flemington,” Richards said.
“She was about to be given a wild card this year, but she had done a fair bit of travelling by that stage of the season.
“I think if we were able to aim her towards Hastings, then possibly Australia if she was going good enough, and then give her a break. Then head to that race (All Star Mile) and maybe Sydney afterwards, that would be a pretty good looking campaign.”