Cox Plate decision to be made on Te Akau Shark, Melody Belle

The Te Akau team will decide in coming days whether Melody Belle or Te Akau Shark, or both, will head to the Cox Plate.

Melody Belle cemented her status as New Zealand’s best with her win in Saturday’s Livamol Classic to complete the Hastings weight-for-age triple crown while Te Akau Shark joined three-year-old filly Probabeel as a Group One runner-up at Randwick.

Probabeel ran second to Funstar in the Flight Stakes while Te Akau Shark was a close second to Kolding in the Epsom Handicap.

Trainer Jamie Richards arrived home from Sydney in the early hours of Sunday morning and said he and the team would begin discussions on Monday.

“I came back from Sydney on Saturday night and with the daylight savings time difference I actually didn’t get home until 3am Sunday morning,” he told NZ Racing Desk.

“…there hasn’t been really any time to take too much stock on what we achieved.

“That will probably happen on Monday when we sit down as a team to map out a program for the horses in the coming weeks.

“Probabeel just can’t seem to get any luck with track conditions as the rain they got put the surface into the slow bracket which doesn’t suit her action.”

Richards admitted both he and jockey James McDonald had mixed emotions after Te Akau Shark’s performance.

“James and I were both gutted to run second as we were convinced he could win the race,” he said.

“James said he was just giggling at the half mile as he had enjoyed a great run and was travelling like a winner.

“He really let down and put in a huge lunge at the line but came up just short.

“It was a terrific performance and showed he can match it at that level over there.”

While Richards would not be drawn on the next moves for the three horses, he indicated Melbourne was in plans for Te Akau Shark and Melody Belle.

“We always sit down on a Monday and discuss our plans and it will be no different this time,” he said.

“There has been plenty of speculation about races like the 2019 Cox Plate for both Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark but realistically there are a number of suitable races in Melbourne for us to look at.

“I think the way Te Akau Shark finished off in the Epsom, a step up to 2000 metres won’t be a problem so that opens a number of avenues for him while the same applies to Melody Belle.

“We’d certainly like to take them down there and show them off.”

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au