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Haunui Graduate Melody Belle Crowned 2YO of the Year
11 September 2017
Haunui Farm graduate Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) was crowned New Zealand's Champion 2YO at last night's New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards and in doing so, became the first Haunui grad to be bestowed the juvenile honour.
Bred by Haunui's longest standing client, Marie Leicester, Melody Belle is a member of the famous "Belle" family brought to the fore by Marie's parents, James and Annie Sarten. Successful breeders for many years, there was a "split" in the Belle family so to speak, when James gifted Annie a daughter of Belle Fox (NZ) (Foxbridge) and from there, the success of the Belle family continued with James breeding from "his" side and Annie breeding from "hers."
The Melody Belle of today is in fact the second Melody Belle of the family. Melody Belle V1 was a 1971 daughter of Taipan II out of Belle of Ascot (NZ) (Summertime) and racing in the same era as the great Soliloquy (NZ) (Sobig), she was a multiple stakes winner and Group One performer. Her dam, Belle Rosa (NZ) (Instinct) was the mare gifted to Annie Sarten from her husband James and descendants of that side of the family include another Champion 2YO, Flying Babe (Aus) (Flying Spur), Karaka Million winner Fort Lincoln (Aus) (Charge Forward) and Hasselhoof (NZ) (Tavistock).
Melody Belle, V2, is a daughter of Commands (Aus) (Danehill) and is the first foal out of Meleka Belle (NZ) (Iffraaj). She too descends from Belle Fox but this time, is from James' side of the family going back to another daughter of Belle Fox in Belle Time (NZ) (Summertime). Melody Belle V2, was a member of Haunui's Premier Yearling Draft of 2016 selling for $57,500 to the bid of David Ellis. She broke maiden status with an impressive win at Ruakaka on debut on the 12th October, 2016 and in early December claimed her first piece of blacktype when third in the Group Three Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m). With the Karaka Million firmly on her agenda, Melody Belle finished 8th of 10 at Ellerslie in her lead-up run to the Karaka Million but showed her counterparts a clean pair of heels on the eve of New Zealand Bloodstock's Sale of 2017 taking out New Zealand's richest race in impressive fashion. That was on the 29th of January and at her next appearance on 1st of April, she repeated the dose over many of the same rivals in the Group One Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes.
A trip across the Tasman to the Queensland Winter Carnival saw Melody Belle stamp her class once again with an almost five length demolition of the field in the Group Two BRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), a performance that undoubtedly went a long way to securing her Champion 2YO status.
"It's obviously a great result for the farm but I'm just so happy for Marie Leicester," said Haunui Farm's Managing Director, Mark Chitty. "Anyone who knows Marie knows that she is one of the best breeders around but, she is one of the best clients to have. She takes the good with the bad and has had some terrible runs of luck at times including with this filly's dam who was retired prematurely," he said. "We may not have got to see the best of Meleka Belle on the race track but she's made her presence felt as a broodmare - Melody Belle is her first foal - and hopefully this is the start of another great story for the Belle family and Marie," said Mark.