Melody Belle (NZ) Stars as Karaka Graduates Dominate NZ Awards
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock sales claimed seven of the eight equine awards at the 2020 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards on Sunday, headed by superstar mare Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands).
Bought for $57,500 at the 2016 Premier Sale by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis from Haunui Farm, the remarkable mare was named New Zealand Horse of the Year for the second year in a row. She also won the Champion Sprinter-Miler and Champion Middle-Distance Horse categories.
Melody Belle’s extraordinary 2019-20 season featured four wins, all at Group One level, and more than $1.93 million in stakes.
She completed an unprecedented clean sweep of Hawke’s Bay’s spring Triple Crown at Hastings, winning the Group One Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Livamol Classic (2040m).
She then crossed the Tasman and won the Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, before finishing second in the Group One Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), third in the Group One Futurity Stakes (1400m), third in the A$5m All-Star Mile (1600m), fourth in the Group One Doncaster Mile (1600m) and sixth in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Overall, Melody Belle has had 33 starts for 16 wins, six placings, 11 Group One wins and more than $3.6 million for owners the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate and trainer Jamie Richards. She has earned more than 62 times her purchase price.
The Champion Two-Year-Old Award went to Melody Belle’s stablemate Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Savabeel). Ellis paid $150,000 to buy the super-talented colt from Book 1 of Karaka 2019 out of Fairdale Stud's draft.
Cool Aza Beel won four of his six starts during the 2019-20 season, headed by the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m). He became the fourth consecutive Karaka Million 2YO winner for Richards and the Te Akau stable.
Cool Aza Beel earned $707,560 during his two-year-old season – more than four and a half times his purchase price.
The Champion Stayer was The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel), who was passed in at the 2017 Premier Sale with a $150,000 reserve.
The Chosen One’s 2019-20 campaign featured a win in the Group Two Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) in Melbourne during the spring, then a second placing in the Group One Sydney Cup (3200m) in the autumn.
The Chosen One has won five races and more than $917,000 in stakes for his big group of owners, which includes breeders the Dennis Brothers.
The $5,000 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale purchase Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) had already been confirmed as the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year, having won the Group One New Zealand Oaks (2400m), Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m), Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) and Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m). She has earned more than $500,000 in stakes for her owners, Adrian Clark’s Challenge No.10 Syndicate. She was purchased from Westend Partnership.
The Champion Jumper was It’s A Wonder (NZ) (Istidaad), who was bought for $9,000 at the 2012 Festival Sale from Mr MG Hodge. He won the Koral Steeplechase (4250m)-Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) double during the 2019-20 season, and he has won nine races and $205,937 in his career to date.