Epsom Handicap favourite Te Akau Shark and his stablemate and New Zealand Horse of the Year elect, Melody Belle, face off in the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.
Melody Belle won the 1200m-Group Two race last season during which she added five Group One wins to her Sires’ Produce Stakes victory of April 2017.
Te Akau Shark, who is part-owned and named for Cronulla Sharks NRL captain Paul Gallen, has been installed favourite with NZ bookmakers ahead of his Jamie Richards-trained stablemate.
The two have trialled twice at Te Rapa with Te Akau Shark winning both his heats while Melody Belle has pleased her trainer without being spectacular.
Melody Belle, to be ridden by Michael McNab, has drawn the outside gate with Te Akau Shark next to her in 11.
“I’m happy with both of them,” Richards told NZ Racing Desk.
“Melody Belle, I thought she might have trialled a little bit better, although she got caught down in the worst of the ground. But that will bring her on and she is back in blinkers on Saturday.
“They haven’t made it easy for us given the draws, so they’ve got a job in front of them. That makes it tricky.
“Endless Drama is going to get the gun run and could be very hard to beat, because he looked super at the trials.”
Richards said he would wait to see how Saturday’s track played before committing to tactics.
The track is in the heavy range ahead of the meeting.