Kiwi trainer Jamie Richards says a skin rash that will require Melody Belle to pass a veterinary check this morning won't be an issue heading into Saturday's A$200,000 Missile Stakes at Rosehill.
The glamour girl of New Zealand racing returns in the 1200m Group 2 and hit two small snags yesterday — a wide barrier draw and a skin rash on the front of her chest.
Richards notified the stewards of the rash as a precaution and they will have it inspected today, as you might expect with Melody Belle being the favourite for the first serious thoroughbred race of the Australasian season.
"It won't be an issue," says Richards matter-of-factly.
"I did the right thing telling the stewards because we are playing with the big boys over there.
"But it really is very minor and she doesn't have any gear in that area to rub against it so it won't affect her."
What might is her wide barrier draw against opposition who are strong but not daunting for a mare of Melody Belle's class but Richards says the weather between now and Saturday will determine that.
"She has drawn a touch wide but we don't tend to have a lot of luck with draws in Australia and how that works out could boil down to how much rain they get over there and how the track plays."
Melody Belle looked more forward winning her trial in Sydney last week than she did at this stage last season, with Richards saying travelling stable foreperson Ashley Hanley has done a wonderful job with the NZ Horse of the Year.
"The horse looks great and Ashley has been really good with the communication since I can't be there, with lots of videos and pics.
"And we also have Kerrin [McEvoy, jockey] to rely on so I am confident she is ready to race well as a lead-up to the Winx Stakes in two weeks."
Stablemate Probabeel will trial again next week and also race on August 22, but in a handicap race.