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Underarm Forgiven But Not Forgotten

Tuesday, 26th February 2019

When Happy Clapper was announced as the first of four wildcard entries for the $5 million All-Star Mile, there was plenty of agreement at the inclusion of a horse that has earned his stripes, and then some. Meanwhile, as we await the final three wildcards, across the Tasman Sea there's a nation that may have forgiven the infamous Greg Chappel underarm incident but who've never forgotten it. Waiting for a potential ASM wildcard call-up is a 4YO mare whose invitation should be a forgone conclusion, not a matter of debate. Crowned Champion 2YO of New Zealand, Melody Belle had a forgetable 3YO season which culminated in disappointing finishes in two Randwick outings. Sent for a spell as a kitten, she returned a 4YO lioness, winning a WFA Gr2 feature first-up. Since then she's had 6 consecutive Gr1 starts, winning 4 of them, from 1200m to 1600m: the Tarzino Trophy, Windsor Park Plate (see below), Waikato Sprint and Haunui Farm WFA. In the Railway she ended up deeper than a Saharan well and still missed by only a half-length after coming from last at the 400m; just forget she went around in Wellington's Telegraph where she plodded to the line. If there's any query, it's whether she's better clock-wise, but she did win the Manawatu Sires Produce left-handed at two. Melody Belle is a champion – period – and deserves to have last shot at Alizee down the Flemington straight. If an invitation is not forthcoming it won't be an underam, but it will be a no-ball, one that may not be forgiven.

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