Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is plotting a triple Group One dip into the central districts early next season.

He has his sights set on the Hawke's Bay carnival with his New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo, who is likely to be supported by a number of younger stablemates.

"We'll be entering Rangipo for all three of the Group Ones at Hastings," Pike said.

"He's starting to breeze up now and hopefully he will come up quickly enough, and at this stage I am very happy with him".


Rangipo won three times at Group Two level before he beat What's The Story and the Pike-trained Raghu in the Derby, but was then unplaced in his Australian debut at Doomben.

He was put aside until last spring and was again turned out after twice finishing out of the money in Melbourne.

Rangipo returned in much improved form in the autumn for a first-up third in the Gr.3 Darley Plate and finished sixth in the Gr.2 Japan/New Zealand International Trophy.

"We've had a few issues with him, but he seems to be coming back to it nicely now," Pike said.

"We'll give him a couple of jump-outs and probably a barrier trial before Hawke's Bay."

The stable is blessed with a number of smart rising 3-year-old prospects, among them the unbeaten pair of Bostonian and Sacred Rebel, Haussmann, Aim Smart, Felton Road and Ujjayyi.

"Depending how quickly they come up, they will be targeted toward Hastings," Pike said.

"While it would be great to split them up, there is a set pattern on the way to the better races.

"We might look at sending a couple down south early, depending on the track conditions."

Meanwhile, Melody Belle's deeds this season have placed her in rarefied company.

The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained daughter of Commands enjoyed an outstanding campaign that netted her the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes, the Karaka Million and the Gr.2 Sires' Produce Stakes in Brisbane.

Her overall record stands at four wins and a placing from seven starts with $865,444 in prize money.

"We've had champion 2-year-olds Darci Brahma, Maroofity, Warhorse and War Affair, but the way Melody Belle won those three big races said to me that in 30 years of buying, syndicating, and training horses that she's as a good a 2-year-old as we've ever had," Te Akau principal Ellis said.

"She was the only New Zealand 2-year-old to win this season at Group level in Australia and we are particularly proud of what she achieved in her first season of racing."

Melody Belle, who was bought by Ellis at Karaka for $57,500 for Fortuna Syndications, is currently enjoying a good break and on her return the Sistema Railway at Ellerslie on New Year's Day will be a Group One goal.

"We feel she is the right sort of filly to then step up to the $1 million Karaka 3YO Mile at the end of January," Ellis said.

"Following that she could look to major races like the Coolmore Classic at Randwick."

- NZ Racing Desk