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Melody Belle has taken out the Thorndon Mile at Trentham and in doing so has equalled Sunline’s record of 13 Group One wins.

Proud trainer Jamie Richards paid tribute to his grand-performing mare and said it was a privilege to see her join Sunline as New Zealand’s most prolific big race winner.

“I can remember Sunline racing and the race she won in Hong Kong more so than anything else,” Richards told the NZ Racing Desk.

“To equal her record is wonderful as she was the mare of the world and while we’ve done it mainly in New Zealand, it is still very good to equal it.

“I’m very proud of her as she has done so much for my career and has flown the flag for all of us.

“She’s a competitor who loves doing her job, so I can’t thank her and everyone involved with her enough.”

Having her first start since the spring, Melody Belle travelled midfield for regular rider Opie Bosson and fought off the challengers to win the 1600 metre feature by 1-1/4 lengths over Sinarahma

She was given a standing ovation by the Trentham crowd.

“She didn’t win by a big space, but she still got the job done relatively comfortably,” Richards said.

“The good thing is we know she still has some improvement to come with her fitness.”

Melody Belle has won 18 of her 36 starts and more than $4.1 million in prize money.

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