Racing: Gingernuts misses a packet but filly picks up crumbs

By Mike Dillon

Melody Belle takes out the $225,000 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes at Awapuni on Saturday. Photo / Racing Desk
Melody Belle takes out the $225,000 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes at Awapuni on Saturday. Photo / Racing Desk

If Meatloaf was right and two out of three ain't bad, one out of two is only a slightly lesser percentage.

The Stephen Autridge-Jamie Richards Te Akau stable missed out with Gingernuts despite a huge effort on his part in the A$2 million Australian Derby, but classy filly Melody Belle put a group one trophy on the table with a runaway $225,000 Manawatu Sires Produce victory.

"She had it won a long way out," a delighted Autridge told the Herald yesterday morning.

This was overall the deepest form Sires Produce of recent years and Melody Belle was totally dominant. And the best result is despite it being just her fifth race appearance and on a testing track the Commands filly has pulled up brilliantly.

What a result for Haunui Farm's shuttle stallion Iffraj. Melody Belle is bred from an Iffraj mare Meleka Belle and this win came within hours of Jon Snow, by Iffraj, winning the Australian Derby.

Two weeks after another son of Iffraj in Gingernuts took the Rosehill Guineas.

Helping Melody Belle and John Galvin, whose Fortune Syndications manage the filly, was that most of the stock of Australian stallion Commands handle rain affected tracks very well.

It would have been a wonderful fairytale end to the main flat season if Gingernuts had won Saturday's Derby, but racing's fortunes don't always flow in one direction. This time when Gingernuts settled back the pace was just average and back runners were going to be disadvantaged. When Opie Bosson started his sprint forward at around the 750m, six or seven of those also peeled out underneath him and, after copping at least two serious bumps, he was eight wide on the home bend, at which point his official starting price of $2.30 extended to $60 and beyond.

"He's never been good when he gets bumped," said Stephen Autridge.

"He's timid and he showed that when he first started racing." Despite the setbacks Gingernuts rallied bravely and his fifth was a genuine tough effort. "It was difficult to make ground from the back most of the day," said Bosson.

In the main that was true, which made Chautauqua's last-to-first A$2.5 million T J Smith victory absolutely astonishing. If you haven't seen it find a replay - you will find one buried in the Chautauqua story on the Sydney Telegraph's racing page of yesterday morning. If you don't go "Wow" at least twice, check your pulse.

We all remember the last winner as the best, but this was truly remarkable.

Te Akau's Summer Monsoon finished mid-field and rider Jason Waddell said the colt struggled in the conditions throughout. Waddell copped a decent suspension for causing interference around the home bend.

Belle Du Nord looked a filly with a big future when she finished powerfully along the inside for second in the Sires and Joyfilly fought bravely for third. Star Treasure made ground into fourth, but in the tough conditions his sprint lacked the zip he can show on a firmer surface.

- NZ Herald

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