Don't ever underestimate how outstanding Melody Belle's recuperative powers are to come back from her gut-busting fresh-up run to win the Foxbridge Plate.

Astonishing barely does it credit.

There is hardly a horse around that could successfully come through a desperate fresh battle with a much fitter Julius. That would strain a wooden heart.

Credit must go to trainer Jamie Richards but the world's best horseman couldn't win a group one second-up if the horse is compromised. So hats off to Melody Belle.


The mare's heart is not only strong - it must be huge. She wasn't entitled to beat Julius and don't also underestimate the bravery she showed again to hold the opposition at bay in the final 250m of Saturday's $200,000 Tarzino Trophy.

The talk was immediately would Melody Belle back up in the 1600m Windsor Park Plate in three weeks. Why not? She probably would have still won had the Foxbridge and Tarzino been 1600m. Certainly the Tarzino, there was no sign of her weakening under the Hiflyer pressure. Former Singaporean jockey Shafiq Rusof did a magnificent job. He was one of half a dozen riders not re-licensed this season but he is no hick, with a Singapore Gold Cup victory in the bag. His balance and patience is stunning.

He was equally brilliant winning on Te Akau Shark. What a horse he could end up being.

"We are carefully managing him after the issues he had last season," said Jamie Richards. "He won't be back here the middle day of the meeting and he can run in the group three 1400m on the final day. He's better with his races spaced."

Te Akau Shark is not a horse you'd like to ride badly - Sydney league icon Paul Gallen is a part owner, hence the name, and a displeased Gallen is not a pretty sight.

Magnificent to have the good horses back in action. Charles Road, Danzdanzdance and Melt are all headliners, and Amazing Az and Simply Optimistic are not finished yet. The Hastings track raced magnificently. It was an official Slow 7 and Jonathan Parkes confirmed that rating after race one but the surface raced better than that.