Star Kiwi mare Melody Belle has continued preparations towards her expected return in the Gr.2 Missile Stakes (1200m) with a win in a star-studded barrier trial at Randwick.
Three heats for Group horses were conducted on Randwick’s Kensington track on Friday morning having been pushed back from Tuesday because of the recent wet weather in Sydney.
The Jamie Richards-trained 10-time Group One winner Melody Belle finished strongly between runners under jockey Kerrin McEvoy late in her trial over 850m on a heavy track to win by a half-length over dual Group One winner Fierce Impact.
Quackerjack was a close third in the same heat.
Melody Belle is scheduled to make her return in Saturday week’s Missile Stakes at Rosehill ahead of the Gr.1 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick two weeks later.
“She was out there to do a little bit because she is an older mare now and she usually takes a run to come right,” Richards said.
“There are going to be a lot of nice horses resuming in the Winx Stakes and if we have a run beforehand in the Missile, we might just have that fitness edge a little bit whereas they’re kicking off and getting ready for a bit further ahead.”
Stablemate Probabeel also had a quiet trial over 850m and is likely to return in the Gr.3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Randwick on August 22.
“She was outpaced a little bit over the shorter distance but her last couple of hundred was very good,” Richards said. “She needs blinkers and she needs better ground.”