Champion racemare Melody Belle looked right on song for her shot at a slice of history on the weekend when she galloped stylishly at Matamata this morning.
Working on the plough with raceday rider Opie Bosson in the saddle, Melody Belle looked comfortable throughout 1200m in 1:16.8, building momentum for a final 1000m in 1:01.4 and 600m in 35.8. The Jamie Richards-trained mare has made excellent recent progress ahead of her attempt at a record-equalling 13th Group One win in the Thorndon Mile.
Race rival Communique (P Turner) was also in good form as she and Pukekohe Sunday entry Lord Painton (Ravi) cut out 1000m in 1:04, finishing off with a final 600m in 35.2. Last year’s Thorndon Mile-winning combination of The Mitigator and Shaun McKay went with Sagunto (P McKay) on the No. 1 sand, where they cut out 1000m in 1:03.6 and 35.8. The Mitigator appears to have bounced back well from his sub-par effort on the first day at Trentham.
Back on the plough, Te Akau Caliburn (Bosson) prepared for the Wellington Cup with solo work, timed from the 1200m in 1:17.2, 1:01.9 and 36.5 and hitting the line strongly. Force Of Will (Osborne), who will shoot for a hat-trick on the Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham, worked well over 1000m in 1:03.6 and 36.3.
Son of Bielski (Fawcett) drew attention to his Trentham prospects when paired with Arraignment (Leighton) in smart work over 1000m in 1:01.2 and 35.6. Over the same ground Burgundy Rose (Roustoby) and Aotea Lad (Amit) recorded 1:02.8 and 36.2, Lilikoi (T Harris) 1:03.5 and 37, Capistrano Rocs (S Weatherley) and Bodacious (Naeem) 1:04.2 and 37, and Watch This Space (W Hillis) 1:01.8 and 36.2.
Last-start Ellerslie winner Roch ‘N’ Horse (McCall) was in good form for Pukekohe as she got through 1000m comfortably in 1:06.6 and 36.8. Auckland Guineas winner Rocket Spade (Yuto), who steps up to a middle-distance at Te Rapa next week, strode over 1200m in 1:23.4 and 38.8.
Pokuru’s Gift (Amit) and Remington (Roustoby) prepared for the weekend with a truly-run 1000m in 1:01.8 and 35.6, while Summer Monsoon (Bosson) and Equinox (Parma) covered the same ground in 1:03.9 and 36.6. Pukekohe runner Roll The Gold (Fawcett) got through a strong 1000m in 1:02.8 and 35.8. Yearn (Tynan), who trials next week, finished off well over 1000m in 1:05.8 and 36.4.
Radegast (Bosson) and Baby Shark (Parma) hit out well over 1200m in 1:16.8, 1:01 and 35.7, while Cha Sui Bao (Yanagida) prepared for Pukekohe with 1000m in 1:05 and 38.3. Paisley Park (Wratten) stretched out over 1200m in 1:22, 1:05.5 and 36.8. Dubai Lady (S Collett) ran an easy 1000m in 1:10.9 and 41, Stopalltheclocks (P Singh) took 1:10.8 and 39.4, and Salt Bay (McCall) was restricted to 1:13.6 and 38.5.
On the course proper, which was good six metres out, Fleetwood Macca (Yanagida) and Petrachor (McCall) were paired over 1200m in 1:22.4, finishing off strongly for a final 1000m in 1:06.1 and 600m in 36.2. Fleetwood Macca heads to Trentham for the Desert Gold Stakes, while Petrachor runs at Pukekohe.
On the No. 1 sand, Trentham entry Sunburst (Leighton) and Wild West (Fawcett), who heads to Pukekohe, cut out 1000m in 1:03.8 and 36.8. Ima Roca Bee (McCall) was keen in her work over 1000m in 1:01.9 and 37.5.