One of NZ thoroughbred racing's finest to end unexpectedly stellar career

Source: 1News

Tomorrow will bring the curtain down on one of New Zealand thoroughbred racing's most successful careers.

Mare Melody Belle will run her last race in the group one Doomben Cup in Brisbane that will bring to an end a ride those there at the start least expected.

Nearly seven years ago, Haunui Farm welcomed a foal that would become a superstar of New Zealand racing but farm director Mark Chitty said it's fair to say there was little fanfare.

“She wasn't one that you looked at,” he said.

That not-so-striking foal bred by Marie Leicester attracted just $57,500 at the 2016 yearling sales.

But 19 wins and 14 group one triumphs later, two-time horse of the year Melody Belle stands with Sunline as a great of New Zealand racing — from winning the Karaka Million as a two-year-old to the triple crown in Hawke's Bay and a group one in Australia.

For Leicester, though, out of all her success, it's a race she didn't win that brings the most pride.

“Believe it or not, it was when she was second in the Mackinnon [in 2019],” Leicester said.

This weekend her track career will all be over, with the champion retiring to become a broodmare.

“It means the world to me,” Leicester said.

“I feel that I have been able to carry on the legacy that my parents started and to me that means the world.”

It's a legacy that could include one last chapter tomorrow.