Melody Belle chimes in with victory
Matamata horses made Sunday’s lucrative Karaka Million meeting their own with wins by Melody Belle and Volpe Veloce in the two big races on the Ellerslie twilight programme.
Melody Belle wasn’t fancied by punters and she started at better than 30-to-one, but she proved by far the best on the day as she raced clear to beat the two favourites, Hasahalo and Felton Road.
A crucial factor in the win was the ride by Opie Bosson, recently reappointed as stable jockey for Te Akau Racing and yet again showing his worth with a picture perfect performance.
From an inside gate Opie found a spot one off the fence tracking the two leaders.
Opie then pushed her forward to take a clear lead soon after straightening and from that point never looked like being headed.
Victory in the $1 million feature by the Stephen Autridge/ Jamie Richards-trained filly, who cost just $57,500 at last year’s Karaka yearling sale, was a case of third time lucky for John Galvin’s Fortuna Syndicates.
‘‘Fortuna have had starters in this race twice before.
‘‘To win it on our third attempt is a fantastic achievement,’’ said the former Matamata resident, who works alongside Te Akau principal David Ellis to source young horses and then syndicate them.
Like past occasions when syndicated horses such as Go Racing’s Ruud Awakening took away the lion’s share of the Karaka Million pot of gold, the Ellerslie birdcage was a sea of smiles as members of the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate high-fived and hugged.
As an advertisement for syndication – and especially on the eve of the National Yearling Sale at Karaka – there’s no better promotion than a horde of likeminded people enjoying the ultimate thrill.
And what better reason for David Ellis and associates to once again lead the way on the first day of the country’s major thoroughbred auction with 14 purchases totalling $2.1 million.
As for Melody Belle, she’s rated a 50-50 chance to front up on her home track for the J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes on February 25.
The Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes back at Ellerslie in March will be her major late summer target.
Opie Bosson celebrates as Melody Belle wins the Karaka Million at Ellerslie on Sunday.