Phenomenal Weekend for Karaka Graduates
Media Release - Monday November 4

What a weekend for Karaka graduates, a Flemington G1 winner, a Golden Eagle winner and a G2 Wakeful Stakes Quinella.

Tenth G1 for Melody Belle

$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.

Melody Belle - image Grant CourtneyThe 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.

Kolding Wins $7.5 Million Golden Eagle

Kolding - image Steve HartThe 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.

Karaka Fillies Quinnela Wakeful Stakes, Oaks Next

Miami Bound defeats Vegas Jewel  - image Grant CourtneyTwo 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.

NZB Release

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