Unbeaten three-year-old filly Legarto made it a one act affair at Te Rapa on Saturday when she cruised home in the Gr.3 Super Seth Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).
The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained daughter of Proisir went into the race off the back of an impressive fresh-up victory over 1200m at the track in late September after winning her only start as a two-year-old back in June.
Racing in the same colours as illustrious stablemate Levante, who had impressed during an exhibition gallop earlier in the day, Legarto ($3.90) duelled with another unbeaten filly in Prowess ($3.60) for the favorite’s tag prior to race start.
Settled toward the rear from a wide barrier draw (11) by rider Ryan Elliot, Legarto began to improve her position approaching the 600m, before Elliot asked the filly to get serious shortly after entering the home straight.
Despite a bumping duel with Prowess at that point, Legarto showed superior closing speed as she burst to the lead inside the final furlong before cruising to the line three lengths to the good of runner-up Romancing The Moon, with Prowess making good ground late to take third after an interrupted passage.
“She had a rough draw but we had a game plan to follow the one Opie (Bosson) was riding (Stella Splendida) and he gave us a nice drag into it,” Elliot said.
“We had Prowess on the inside of us but when I said go it was just wow!
“The query was the good track as she had only been on slower surfaces, but the way she let down, holy hecka.
“She relaxes beautifully and is calling out for a trip now.”
A tilt at the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 12 is the confirmed target for the exciting filly.
Legarto is raced in similar interests to Levante, with both sporting the colours of Phillip Brown’s Ancroft Stud and both built in a similar mould.
“She is very similar to Levante. They’re both by Proisir and she has really come up well,” Kelso said.
“I said to Phillip as they pulled up, ‘could lightning strike twice?’ and he said ‘I think it just did’.
“She had a lot against her today with the bad draw and being on a good track for the first time after being on bad ground only before this.
“She was just fantastic, with a cool, calm ride from Ryan as well.”
Bred by Bay Of Plenty farmer, Warwick Jeffries, Legarto is out of Towkay mare Geordie Girl and was purchased by Brown for $90,000 under his Ancroft Stud banner from Highline Thoroughbreds draft during the Book 2 sale at Karaka in 2021.
Raced by a large group including Tony and Mary Enting, who also share in the ownership of Levante, Legarto has moved to the top of the TAB Fixed Odds market for the 1000 Guineas at a quote of $1.80 ahead of Prowess and Best Seller who sit as joint $7 second favourites.
Legarto becomes the ninth individual stakes winner for her sire, Proisir, who stands at Rich Hill Stud and will be represented by four individuals at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale of Two-year-olds at Karaka on 16 & 17 November.