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Wide draw for Melody Belle in Empire Rose

Star New Zealand mare Melody Belle has drawn a wide barrier in a capacity field for the Group One Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington.

A nine-time Group One winner in New Zealand including three this spring, the Jamie Richards-trained Melody Belle has drawn barrier 13 in the field of 16 for Saturday’s 1600m weight-for-age race for fillies and mares.

Last year’s VRC Oaks winner Aristia has the inside barrier while the Robbie Griffiths-trained Fidelia has the outside gate.

There are no three-year-old fillies in this year’s field.

Trainer Chris Waller, who won the race last year with Shillelagh, has Invincibella (barrier 14) and Noire (barrier 11) in the Empire Rose while Noire is also first emergency for Saturday’s Group One Cantala Stakes (1600m) on the same program.

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