As the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate faithful habitually swooned around the birdcage, one individual personified what it meant for the champion mare to emulate in Hastings today last year's feat of a spring carnival double.
Melody Belle's strapper, Mette Mosebo, cut a stark figure despite barely uttering a word after the 5-year-old horse clinched the group one Windsor Park over 1600m, on the heels of the 1400m Tarzino Trophy (with Michael McNab in the saddle) here a fortnight ago.
It wasn't because Mosebo was sporting the radiant tangerine and navy colours of Te Akau Racing that she stood out, but because of the tears streaming down her face — so much so that fans were wiping them off her ebullient face amid hugs.
"It doesn't happen very often because I'm a tough girl," said the sun-kissing 24-year-old from Denmark at the stables, after jockey Opie Bosson rode Melody Belle almost effortlessly to a three-length victory over Sultan of Swing (apprentice jockey Sam Weatherley) and Mongolian Marshal (Matthew Cameron) in the $200,000 race.
With that emphatic finish comes the promise of a never-done-before triple crown in Hastings when the third leg of the New Zealand Spring Racing Carnival — the group one Livamol Classic (2040m) — will be staged on Saturday, October 5.
Under the tutelage of Jamie Richards of Matamata, Melody Belle will embark on a journey to accomplish what the ilk of Seachange and Starcraft had fallen short in.
But then stablehand Teina Walters, who fancies himself as horse-racing commentator some day, had had the audacity to juxtapose the Commands mare with Black Caviar, the undefeated, retired Australian sprinter, about this time last year amid raucous laughter from Hawke's Bay Racing CEO Andrew "Butch" Castles.
"I think, she's brutal speed wrapped up in an elegant machine," Walters had opined last September before Castles had playfully reined him in.
But today the 24-year-old, armed with a video camera, captured every twitch of Melody Belle's muscles as Mosebo put her through the post-race warm-down in the stabling area before a visit to the "spit box" for a medical check.
The parochial 34-member syndicate followers of the Marie Leicester-bred horse should dare to dream of doing the unthinkable here in a fortnight, even if she isn't worthy of a Black Caviar comparison.
Mosebo, who was deliberately standing out of sync with the finish line with Karyn Fenton-Ellis (wife of Te Akau principal David Ellis) because they couldn't bear to see the outcome, said it was very special.
"We were listening to it [the race] so when we heard she was coming down the straight we had started cheering her on," she explained.
Mosebo, who straps Melody Belle at race meetings, described the mount as "very tough".
"She's a typical female [who] doesn't really like cuddles but you've got to give her that attention so it's not so much about the touching and stuff like that."
Early this month Melody Belle, the Queen of the Turf in New Zealand, was named the Champion Sprinter-Miler. She is the prima donna of Te Akau stables, with a special yard allocated to her under the daily watch of staff Nicole Shailer and Mason Stevens.
"All the horses are important but she will be looked after really well because she is to play a big part in two weeks," Mosebo said of Melody Belle, who isn't a "big eater" but laps up the big raceday meeting atmosphere.
"She loves all the cameras on her and people coming up to pat her and pose for photos."
David Ellis had forked out $57,500 for the mare from a Haunui Farm draft at the 2016 national yearling sale. Melody Belle has now prevailed in 13 of her 23 starts, including eight group ones, and has earned her syndicate close to $2 million in prizemoney.
"She's just a professional, a champion, as Opie Bosson had said to me straight after the race," Mosebo said, revealing the horse had come down from her high as if to indicate she was ready for the jockey's post-race interview.
"She just knows she's a champion so, you know, you just can't describe her."
The strapper, who has served Te Akau Racing for two years, said Bosson had told her Melody Belle still had a fair bit of grunt left in her tank so it was "easy-peasy as" today.
No doubt that fuel reserve will be put to the test in the $250,000 Livamol Classic, where more seasoned stayers will question her credentials beyond a mile (1600m), although she had accomplished that in ending her stellar 2018-19 season with victory in the group one Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie in March.
"It's going to be something very special and we hope she can," she said. "Everything's got to pull up right so we're just going to take her home now where she'll have some easy days."
Richards, who was in Sydney today where they had two horses in the mix, had made a point of watching the Windsor Park Plate race.
Mosebo said the trainer was a man of few words but tended to return to the stable to reinforce his affinity with Melody Belle.
Stevens said the mare's impressive win in the first leg, after drawing a devil's barrier 15, had boosted their confidence today from barrier six.
"But you've still got to turn up to do it so she did a good job," he said, revealing Richards would have watched it and would be excited about the final leg.
"It's never been done before and probably for a reason so it's really hard to do it and, hopefully, she'll be the first one to do it," said the 24-year-old stable foreman, adding barriers win matches and Melody Belle had proven that today.
Mosebo's routine in Matamata includes rising at the crack of dawn to help nurture the horses at the stud - especially the colts who tend to be a bit more of a handful.
From the Danish capital of Copenhagen, Mosebo arrived in New Zealand five years somewhat "accidentally" because she had Australia on her radar for some equine experience in a gap year after high school.
After a nomadic stint across the ditch she arrived in New Zealand with Cambridge trainer Catherine Cameron.
"When I was young I used to do all kinds of sport — swimming, gymnastics, football and, you know, I actually played a guitar for a while — but then I joined some friends who were pony clubbing," she said, revealing her parents got her a pony when she was 8.
Mosebo finds New Zealand bewitching with its exotic flora and fauna, something that is not a given in Denmark.
"My parents miss me a lot but I've enjoyed waking up early here every morning to comfort horses so that's what I live for."