Te Akau Racing stars set to cross the Tasman again

Steve Bennett Steve Bennett
  • Te Akau gallopers are back in work
  • An Australian autumn campaign is planned
Trainer - Jamie Richards

Star gallopers, Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark are back at work and their Autumn plans are set for a return to Australia.

Te Akau Racing trainer Jamie Richards told the NZ Racing Desk that the plans for the stablemates have been finalised and both star gallopers will be racing on Australian soil in the very near future.

Melody Belle is remembered for her gallant win in the Group One Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day and then just a week later ran a good second behind Irish mare Magic Wand in the Group One McKinnon Stakes.

Te Akau Shark ran a solid third in the Group One Cox Plate behind the great Japanese mare Lys Gracieux.

Richards said he has just a few last minute gallops for his stable stars before they make the trip across the Tasman again.

Melody Belle

“Melody Belle has had her first couple of pieces of work and is coming along nicely,” he said.

“She will have an exhibition gallop at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night (Jan 25) and then a trial at Te Aroha (Feb 4).

“She will go straight to Melbourne for the Futurity Stakes at Caufield on February 22 and then into the All-Star Mile (1600m), which is her major target.

“Te Akau Shark had some nice time off in the paddock but is back in work now as well.

“He is going to trial at Matamata and then will have an exhibition gallop before tackling the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa (February 8).

“He will head to Sydney after that where his main aim is the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the last day of the Championships (April 11).”

Te Akau Shark

Richards also has designs on bringing his three-year-old filly Probabeel along for the ride but should she make the trip, she may head to Melbourne to avoid a wet Sydney autumn.

The filly won convincingly last weekend at Awapuni where she was sent out at Winx odds ($1.10), putting almost two lengths on the field in the 1400m event.

“She did all she had to do and has pulled up well after her exertions. She did leave a bit of feed last night which is to be expected and is very bright this morning,” Richards said.

“She will now head to the Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie on the 25th and then we will decide on her next move after that.

“We’re looking at Australia but whether that is in Melbourne for a race like the Australian Guineas or Sydney for the Surround Stakes is still to be decided.

“Every time we have gone to Sydney with her we have struck wet tracks, so that will be a consideration.”

Her four career wins have all come on tracks rated Dead 4 or better.