New Zealand Horse of the Year, Melody Belle, has run a pleasing third in a barrier trial at Te Rapa as she builds towards her spring campaign.
The six-time Group One winner will begin her new season in the Group Two Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 17.
"She finished third under no pressure whatsoever," managing owner, John Galvin, of Fortuna Syndications, told NZ Racing Desk.
"Troy (Harris) was just ecstatic with her effort. This trial is a lead-up to a second trial which will happen here in two weeks' time.
"She'll be put under a bit more pressure at that time.
"Troy said she's much stronger than she was last year and that's what she's telling us at the stable as well, with her physical presence and the way she eats and the way she works."
Melody Belle won last year's Foxbridge Plate before going on to win both the Group One double of the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hawke's Bay.
She will follow the same path with the addition of the third leg of the Hawke's Bay triple crown, the Livamol Classic (2040m), also on the agenda.
Galvin said the Livamol Clasic would determine whether Melody Belle continued into the spring in Australia.
Her Jamie Richards-trained stablemate Te Akau Shark won his 900m-trial on Monday and is also likely to resume in the Foxbridge Plate.
He is expected to then race in Australia with the Epsom Handicap at Randwick among his targets.