The reigning Champion Horse of the Year Melody Belle and her breeder Marie Leicester received more accolades over the weekend, at the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA Annual Awards.
At a lunch at New Zealand Bloodstock's complex in Karaka, following a successful stallion parade at Westbury Stud and Haunui Farm, the breeders of 18 individual group winners were presented with their trophies and honoured for their achievements.
Among those 18 were five group one winners, Bostonian (Jimmy Choux-Keepa Cheval) – Archer Equine Investments, Humidor (Tefilo[IRE]- Zalika) – Jomara Bloodstock, Melody Belle (Commands[AUS]-Meleka Belle) – Marie Leicester, Santa Monica (Per Incanto(USA)-Monarch) – Protech Design and Verry Elleegant (Zed-Opulence) – Don Goodwin.
Melody Belle raced eight times last season and won six races, including the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy, Windsor Park Plate, Waikato Sprint, Otaki Moari WFA, and the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes. She also won the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate and finished third in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway.
For her achievements, Melody Belle was awarded two of the three special awards that the Auckland Branch also give their members. Her dam Meleka Belle was named the Sybil Hayward Broodmare of the Year, and her breeder Marie Leicester received the Jane Bunbury Award for Breeder of the Year
She is certainly providing a huge thrill for her Leicester who bred her from a family nurtured and developed by her parents John and Annie Sarten. In accepting her awards Leicester told of the round the dining table discussions she and her parents had on the subject of breeding and establishing this great family and she recalled her father’s wisdom.
"Dad always said never count the cost of the stallion, the foals all cost the same to raise no matter what they are by,” she said, “if you like the mating go for it, so I have tried to listen to him and mate my mares accordingly".
The third special award announced by the Auckland branch- the Faltaat Award for the Best International Performance- was awarded to Verry Elleegant the winner of the Gr.1 Australian Oaks, Vinery Stud Stakes, the Gr.2 Phar Lap Stakes and the Gr.3 Ethereal Stakes. Her very proud breeder and part-owner Don Goodwin was on hand to receive the award.
On behalf of the Carter family’s Jomara Bloodstock, Goodwin also collected their award for their Group One winning achievement of Humidor in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes. Stuart Hope from Protech Design collected his award for the Gr.1 Sistema Railway Stakes winner Santa Monica, whom he still races and Dianne Wright collected the award for Archer Equine Investments for the deeds of the dual Queensland group one winner Bostonian.
Archer Equine Investments also bred Emily Margaret (Pins[AUS]- Seven Schillings) who won the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas, the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes and the Listed NZB Airfreight Canterbury Belle Stakes.
Other Group Two winners included M2 Limited’s Postponed mare Consensus (ex Kate Cross) who won the Gr.2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley as well as the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes and Gr.3 Taranaki Cup; Sponge Bob (Keeper[AUS]-Chihenne) bred by Carl Gray and Chris Wilkinson – the winner of the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas and Lord Arthur (Camelot[GB]-Imposingly[AUS]) bred by Peter Newsom. Princess Kereru(Pins[AUS]- Fleur D’amour) is the pride of the Humphries family after winning the Gr.2 ARC Waikato Stud Plate, and Listed NZB Finance Sprint, and Paul Humphries was on hand to accept the award on their behalf.
There were six Group Three winners bred by branch members including the Gr.3 Northland Breeders Stakes winner Melt (Iffraaj[GB]-Ticklish) bred by Andrew Fowler, and Celebrity Dream (Thorn Park[AUS] – Our Valpolicella) the winner of the Gr.3 La Trice Classic, Listed Shelia Gwynne Classic and Listed Ascend-Jungle Dawn Classic in Western Australia. She was bred by Haunui Bloodstock Ltd, Frantic Bloodstock Ltd and G Cranny. Westbury Stud’s Gerry Harvey bred four Group Three winners in the season under review and they were; Ho Ho Khan (Makfi[GB]-China Choice[AUS]) the winner of the Gr.3 HKJC Queen Mother Memorial Cup, Little Giant (Swiss Ace[AUS]-Princess Carolina[AUS]) winner of the Gr.3 Shatin Vase, Night’s Watch (Redwood[GB]-Glory Run[AUS]) winner of the Gr.3 MRC Foundation Cup, and Platinum Command (Red Giant[USA]-Wednesday Rocks) winner of the Gr.3 CJC Winter Cup.
The Auckland Branch stallion parade and awards lunch were generously sponsored by gavelhouse.com and NZB Insurance. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA