IN Racing
Improving weather key for Legarto
Ken and Bev Kelso will be keeping a closer eye on weather conditions at Hastings for superstar mare Legarto.
Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | September 28, 2023
Legarto will contest the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate on Saturday. (Bruno Cannatelli)

As Ken and Bev Kelso prepare to saddle the hot favourite for Saturday’s Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings, the Matamata trainers are hoping the warm and windy weather predicted for Hawke’s Bay on Thursday and Friday will lift the track conditions up out of the heavy range.

Legarto stamped herself as the horse to beat in Saturday’s $400,000 feature with a slashing late run into third in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) earlier this month, and the TAB currently rates her a clear favourite at $2.40.

However, more than 40mm of rain has fallen on the Hastings track this week, which was rated a Heavy10 on Thursday morning.

“We’re all systems go for Hastings on Saturday, but obviously we’re on weather watch,” Ken Kelso said.

“She can handle a little bit of give in the ground, but we probably wouldn’t want it to stay in that heavy range. Hopefully the weather will get better through the next couple of days, maybe with some wind as well, and it might come back a little bit. Apart from that, we’ve been very happy with our build-up to the race.”

An outstanding winner of the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old last season, Legarto’s Tarzino Trophy performance was an almost perfect way to kick off her four-year-old preparation.

After settling well back in the field and being held up for a run at the top of the home straight, she charged home to get within two half-necks of the first two placegetters, Skew Wiff and Dragon Leap, who are both bypassing the Arrowfield this weekend. Legarto’s sectional times were the fastest in the field for the last 800m (46.34 seconds), 600m (34.60), 400m (22.63) and 200m (11.37).

“I thought it was a very good run first-up in the Tarzino,” Kelso said. “The way that she found the line was really pleasing.

“I think everything has gone to plan in the few weeks since that run. To my eye, she’s improved in every aspect – in her fitness, her condition and her coat. We’re very happy with her. She’s been working really well.”

Legarto Ken and Bev Kelso Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate