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Belle ringing again for breeder

Melody Belle pic. Trish Dunell

Melody Belle  pic. Trish Dunell
Melody Belle is ensuring history is repeating itself with a series of outstanding performances this season in a 'second coming' to add to the family roll of honour.

The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained filly has already claimed top domestic honours with her Karaka Million and Gr.1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes victories and the Gr.2 BRC Sires' Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm.

Purchased for $57,500 by Te Akau principal David Ellis out of Haunui Farm's 2016 Premier Sale draft to Karaka, she was bred by Marie Leicester who provides an interesting insight into a family started by her parents, James and Annie Sarten in 1939.

"She's the second Melody Belle," Leicester said. "Mum raced the other one (by Taipan II) and she raced particularly well too, so it must be a good name. She won the Te Aroha Breeders' Stakes in 1975, when it was in its infancy.

"Belle Fox was the first one that Mum and Dad bred and she was born in 1939. She had two fillies. One was called Belle Time, by Summertime, and the other was Belle Rosa, by Instinct. Dad gave mum Belle Rosa and he kept Belle Time.

"Within our family, we've always said 'Mum's family and Dad's family'. They're all the one family, but we go back to those two mares all the time – the two daughters of Belle Fox.

"The older Melody Belle came from Mum's line, the Belle Rosa line, and this one comes from Dad's one, the Belle Time line.

"She (latest Melody Belle) traces back to Honey Belle, who was a very good mare. She won the Foal Stakes when it used to be on New Year's Day at Ellerslie, the Wellington Guineas, and the George Adams Handicap at Flemington in the late 60s," she said.

The grand-dam of Melody Belle, Empress Belle (Sir Tristram), left Tsarina Belle (Stravinsky), a half-sister to Meleka Belle, who finished third in the 1000 Guineas and second in the Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old.

"Meleka Belle is from the first crop of Iffraaj and it was because we have the mares at Haunui Farm, and she was a young mare, that we decided to use a first season sire," Leicester said.

"Melody Belle is her first foal. I sold an O'Reilly filly out of her last year ($100,000). She's now got a particularly lovely and very correct weanling filly by Not A Single Doubt, which I'm not sure whether I'll sell or keep, and in foal to Tavistock.

"I'd always wanted to send a mare to Commands and every time I saw him in Australia I'd fall in love with him a bit more. I loved his pedigree and everything about him.

"I thought Meleka Belle was the ideal mare to go to him and Commands actually died before Melody (Belle) was born."

Melody Belle will be out to add to her record in this Saturday week's Gr.1 J.J. Atkins at Doomben and a victory would all but earn her New Zealand champion two-year-old honours. – NZ Racing Desk.