Melando Chief notches up another breeding win for Kevin Musso 

 By Duane Ranger 

Richmond Park horseman, Kevin Musso, might have only trained five winners since 1993, due to his commitments in the mines in Western Australia, but he is no stranger to breeding quality standardbreds. 

Rocket Reign – the 2003 son of Pacific Rocket and Sherree’s Reign (Caprock), is the best pacer that he has bred. That black colt won 14 of his 57 starts ($185,493) and placed in 14 others between 2006 and 2009. Rocket Reign went on to race successfully in Western Australia.

Debbie and Kevin Musso

“He’s the best… so far, and his older 2001 Christian Cullen half-brother, Cullen’s Reign, wasn’t bad either. They were from the Charlie Elliott breed. He placed in some Group and Listed races and won the Central Otago Cup (2009). 

“We only bred three foals out of Sherree’s Reign and sadly she died giving birth to a Falcon Seelster foal in 2005. 

“Three years earlier we bred from another mare this time the unraced OK Bye – Tenisha (Nero’s B B) mare, That’s My Franco. We bought her at a Spreydon Lodge Sale with Gavin and Christine Bailey. The mare was from the late Wayne Francis breed and in October 2002 she left us a Union filly named Melando Babe. 

“Melando Babe is the mother Melando Chief. He’s five now and we have very proud owners on both sides of the Tasman,” Musso said. 

Melando Chief, a Sportswriter 5-year-old, notched up his first win in 31 starts (six placings & $18,195) on the second day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting on January 15. 

He finished a 1.7 length second on the first day. Kyle Cameron did the driving both days. 

“I was delighted for the horse because he hasn’t had much luck and has been knocking on the door. It was a lovely drive by Kyle. 

“Melando Chief kicked me at the Waterlea meeting and knocked me out. I had to miss the first day at Nelson but was there to see him win on day two. I own him with my wife Debbie, and my two kids Sharnae and Shanon. They both work in the mines in Western Australia, and always watch out for their horses. 

“I used to work two weeks on and two weeks off when I worked in the mines and it was pretty hard working a team back in New Zealand at the same time.  

Sharnae and Shanon Musso

I owe a lot to Kyle Cameron and Murray Pash, who looked after my horses in Canterbury and Nelson, when I was overseas or stranded in Port Hedland, like I was with Covid for seven months,” Musso said. 

“Above all this Debbie has been the one that has kept it all going. Without her there would be no Musso stable,” the Nelson horseman added. 

Musso said Melando Babe only left two foals. The first, the unraced 2010 Julius Caesar filly named Melando Quest, was sold to China, and then seven years later came Melando Chief. 

Musso, a former Amberley Trotting Club and current Nelson HRC committee member, is breeding from Dixie Reign, who won four races. She has a Vincent filly foal at foot, and is back in foal to him again. 

Both Musso and his wife, Debbie, attended Burnside High School.