Wizard of the West needed for Melody Belle draw

The ‘Wizard of the West’ Willie Pike will need to conjure some magic in his first meet on Queensland turf, after star New Zealand mare Melody Belle (NZ) drew the widest gate for Saturday’s $500,000, Group 2 WFA AD Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on the Gold Coast.

The 14-time Group 1 winner was priced at $7.50 on the third line of betting by TAB after the release of the field, but moved into $7.00 quickly despite drawing barrier 17. 

With West Australian cult hero Pike booked for the ride, Melody Belle had previously shared equal favouritism with Avilius at $6.00 in TAB’s All In market.

It was a tough draw for most of the top fancies. Avilius is now outright favourite at $5.50 having opened at $6.00 and scoring barrier nine. Zaaki also opened at $6.00 but drifted slightly to $6.50 with the selection of gate 14. 

(Barrier in brackets)

$5.50    Avilius (9) (was $6.00) 
$6.50    Zaaki (14) (was $6.00)
$7.00    Melody Belle (17) (was $7.50) 
$8.00    Fifty Stars (12) (was $9.00)
$9.50    Shared Ambition (8) (was $9.00)
$11       Homesman (16) (was $10)
$12       Paradee (15) (was $14)
$16       Toffee Tongue (5) (was $17)
$17       Humidor (3) (was $15) 
              Vanna Girl (11) (was $16)
$21+     Others quoted