Triple Crowns are almost the rarest of racing achievements.

In North America they define the sport, with the annual treble of the Kentucky Derby-Preakness-Belmont about the only time many sports fans tune in to racing.

Once the possibility of a Crown is gone, many couldn't care less about the last leg, like golf fans turning off the television when Tiger is no longer in contention.

Here they are even rarer. New Zealand racing only has one real Triple Crown to speak of and now Melody Belle is a $1.30 shot to achieve what no horse has before — all three Hawke's Bay group ones in five weeks.


Not only did she add leg two by smashing her rivals in a tailor-made Windsor Park Plate on Saturday but her runaway win also helped scare some of them away from the final leg, the Livamol Classic on October 5.

Barring bad luck before or during the race she should win the Crown and become our greatest domestic group one winner as she now sits alongside Mufhasa on eight elite level triumphs here. No thoroughbred has ever won nine.

But when the new Queen of New Zealand racing races for greatness in 12 days time her trainer won't be there to watch.

Jamie Richards, just turned 30 and with the enormous weight of Te Akau racing on his young shoulders, will be at Randwick trying to achieve something almost as difficult as a Triple Crown: two Australian group one wins in the same day.

The same afternoon Melody Belle chases the Crown, Richards will have Probabeel in the A$500,000 Flight Stakes and Te Akau Shark in the A$1 million Epsom.

Probabeel indicated the Flight will be a two-horse race with Funstar when she only just missed grabbing her in the Tea Rose Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, her last 200m suggesting the step up to 1600m on October 5 will be ideal.

"She is over here to try and get an Australian group one and I think she can," explains Richards. "I'd love to get one for the Cambridge Stud crew because obviously the Lindsays are breeders and that top level Australian form is hard for our fillies to get.

"And of course we have The Shark (Te Akau) in the Epsom that day and I couldn't be happier with him.


"He has an easy piece of work on Saturday morning and will have either a trial or a gallop between races this week."

Richards says with such a strong support team at home with their systems well bedded in he is more useful in Sydney. "Of course I'd love to be there for the last leg of the Triple Crown but we have two very good horses in Sydney with just one staff member, who is doing a great job, and me going over and back.

"So with Sydney racing being what it is and things like the stewards to deal with, I will be in Sydney watching Hastings on TV at the track."

While Melody Belle is red hot to win the Livamol there are question marks or straight out doubts over many of those in the market.

The connections of Sultan Of Swing (second on Saturday), Shadows Cast (fifth) and Vigor Winner (ninth) have all indicated they will not be heading back to the Bay for the Livamol while the Baker-Forsman stable is yet to decide if either or both of Mongolian Marshal (third) and Cutadeel (eighth) will return for the last day.

Trainer Stephen Marsh is undecided about Crown Prosecutor but stablemate Vernanme is now on the Livamol path after winning at Pukekohe yesterday while he could be joined by another interesting newcomer in Peso, who won the open 2000m at Hastings.

As brave as he is, Peso's presence will hardly terrify Team Te Akau.

So the Crown is Melody Belle's to lose. Then again, there is a reason most Triple Crowns remain unworn.

OCT 5: Day of destiny

Jamie Richards's dream treble chance

• Melody Belle in the $250,000 Livamol Classic, Hastings

• Te Akau Shark in A$1 million Epsom, Randwick.

• Probabeel in A$500,000 Flight Stakes, Randwick.