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Star NZ mare Melody Belle will bypass the Cox Plate and target the Empire Rose Stakes

New Zealand champion Melody Belle will be seen in Australia this spring but not in the Cox Plate.

Trained by Jamie Richards for a Te Akau syndicate, Melody Belle claimed her ninth Group One win in Saturday’s Livamol Classic at Hastings over the same 2040m as the Cox Plate to complete New Zealand’s weight-for-age triple crown.

But she will not be tested over the distance again immediately this campaign and instead be set for the Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).

“Jamie reported that Melody Belle has come through her Triple Crown campaign in great order and he cannot fault her physically,” Fortuna Syndications manager John Galvin said.

“We did give serious consideration to the 2019 Cox Plate, however, the consensus reached was to go for the Empire Rose instead and if she were to race well in that event, then the option of backing up into the MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) would be available to us.”

Melody Belle had two previous campaigns in Australia, winning the Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in Brisbane as a juvenile.

“We have been there before. We won a Group Two race with her as a two-year-old and then we took her back as a three-year-old in the autumn and didn’t have any luck,” Galvin said.

“Now is the time to go back and show her off to the Australians.”

 
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