A potential replacement for the retired world champion Winx (Street Cry) emerged as Darley stallions past and present sired first and second in the G1 Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, 2 November.
Melody Belle brilliantly won the race in a confirmation of the quality of the nine G1 wins she had already accumulated in New Zealand.
Ridden superbly by Opie Bosson, Melody Belle, a daughter of the much-lamented Commands, gave most of the field a start and then overpowered her rivals from the 200m to win by 1.5 lengths.
A gallant second was 2018's G1 VRC Oaks winner Aristia, a daughter of Lonhro who battled on well for second, ahead Spanish Reef.
Melody Belle had campaigned in Australia previously with limited success, only to return to New Zealand and establish herself as that country’s best racehorses.
The Empire Rose win was her 15th and makes her one of the southern hemisphere’s most accomplished horses, she was bred by Mrs Marie Leicester who has since sent a mare to Commands' son, Epaulette.
Renowned New Zealand bloodstock agent David Ellis paid NZ$57,500 for Melody Belle at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale.
Aristia was bred by Mr Greg Perry of Greenwich Stud who is expecting a foal this season by Lonhro out of Gigi Girl.