Melody Belle (NZ) & Manto

Melody Belle (NZ) & Manto (GB)

Acknowledge: Brian Russell & ‘Australian Thoroughbred 2019’

Featured Image: ‘Trenton’ by ‘Musket’ (See below)

Melody Belle is the winner of 10 Group I Races (9 in NZ) including the 2019 running of the Empire Rose Stakes (1600 metres). She was also runner up in the L K S Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington to Magic Wand one week later.

Melody Belle was got in NSW but foaled in NZ for Mrs N M Leicester and is a half-sister to Exaltation, a Not a Single Doubt filly currently three and an impressive debut winner in NZ on October 26.

Their dam Meleka Belle won one race – 1200m, and is one of 11 winners, four of them stakes placed, from 13 to race out Empress Belle, a smart N Z 2yo by Sir Tristram (Ire) produced by Imperial Belle, a Sovereign Edition (Ire) winner of three races to 1400m in Melbourne.

Honey Belle (by Better Honey (GB), the fourth dam of Melody Belle, was a first class NZ race filly up to 1600m, nine wins including the WRC George Adams-G1 and Wellington Guineas-G2 and third placings the Great Northern Oaks and NZ St Leger. She is the fourth dam of Rock Kingdom (Rock of Gibraltar (Ire), an ATC Epsom winner and a half-sister to three stakes winners, including Asgard (14 wins, ATC Australian Champion S, QTC Grand Prix, Western Australian Derby).

There are  about a hundred stakes winners under Melody Belle’s first six dams, among them Group1 stars Eskimo Queen (Qld Oaks, STC Coolmore Classic), Plucky Belle (ATC Coolmore Classic), Drum (VATC Oakleigh Plate),  Dance Hero (Sydney Juvenile Triple Crown – Slipper, Sires’ Produce Stakes, Champagne Stakes),  Anamato (SAJC Australasian Oaks), Grand Armee (7 G1 ATC Queen Elizabeth – twice, Doncaster, George Main, Chipping Norton, Ranvet, VRC LKS Mackinnon), Dealer Principal (ATC Rosehill Guineas), Yourdeel (Auckland Diamond S, Manawatu Sires), Absolute Champion (HK Champion), Wylie Hall (South African Derby), Star Belle (18 wins, NZ GN Derby), Wonder Dancer (VRC Sires, WA Derby, Lord Ted (Ellerslie Sires), Sharscay (STC Canterbury Guineas), Belle du Jour (STC Golden Slipper, VRC Newmarket), Perfectly Ready (SAJC Goodwood) and Aerosmith (NZ Wellington Cup).


The Group1 performers listed are among a huge honour board of good gallopers descending from Australasia’s most historic broodmare, Manto. Foaled in England in 1822 and imported in foal to NSW in 1826, she is considered to be the first broodmare of significance in this part of the world registered in the England compiled ‘The General Stud Book’.

The foal Manto produced here from her English mating, one named Cornelia, is recognised as Australia’s first thoroughbred. The foreword in Volume 1 of the Australian Stud Book acclaimed: Manto, principally through her daughter Cornelia, who was a winner at the Parramatta races in 1829, established a distaff line both in this country and New Zealand that has placed her in an unchallenged position as the most influential foundation mare in the Australian Stud Book.

Although Manto was solely used in NSW, her name is a pinprick in the pedigrees of hundreds of good horses produced around the world in the past half century through a New Zealand bred good Australian racehorse and champion sire Trenton (foaled 1881; like Carbine by Musket). Shipped to England at 14, Trenton was only modestly successful in that part of the world, but left the grandams of two great and influential sires, Gainsborough (Europe) and Bull Dog (America). Northern Dancer is inbred 4×5 to Gainsborough and in consequence doubles up Trenton. Also used in England after proving a very good sire in Australia, Carbine is also in Northern Dancer’s pedigree.

An unusual feature of the breeding of Trenton is that both his granddam (foaled1866) and fourth dam (1828) were named Flora McIvor. The first of these mares, both of which were bred in NSW, was by Rous Emigrant (GB) and out of Manto’s daughter Cornelia.

Written Tycoon is another distinguished representative of this family.