IN Racing
Levante on track for Railway
Group One targets await Levante in the New Year, with a trip across the Tasman in the offing should she perform to her usual high standards.
NZ Racing Desk | December 13, 2022
Levante winning the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint. Photo: Trish Dunell

Group One targets await Levante in the New Year, with a trip across the Tasman in the offing should she perform to her usual high standards.

The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained mare has performed with distinction in both of her starts in Australia, finishing fourth in both the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Gr.1 Champions Sprint (1200m), both taken out by fellow Kiwi-bred Roch ‘N’ Horse.

Prior to her hit-and-run Melbourne campaigns, the six-year-old daughter of Proisir won the Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m) and Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1200m) after finishing runner-up to Entriviere in the Gr.1 Railway (1200m).

Kelso is keen to avenge her loss in the Railway before heading to Trentham to attempt to defend her crown in the Telegraph, however, a decision has yet to be made whether she heads to Te Rapa for the BCD Group Sprint, or travels across the Tasman once more.

“Levante ran in the sprint at Flemington and performed very well for fourth,” Kelso told RSN.

“She has come home, had a bit of time off, and will trial at Matamata on the 23rd (of December) and then run in the Railway at Te Rapa.

“Then there is the Telegraph, which she won (in January) at Wellington. We have also got another Group One called the BCD Group Sprint, which she won (in February) over 1400m.

“We will just play it by ear on those couple of races. After the Telegraph we will decide on whether we go to the BCD or look at something in Melbourne.”

Kelso has also welcomed back Group One-winning stablemate Legarto to his Matamata barn in preparation for a potentially lucrative campaign.

The daughter of Proisir is unbeaten in four starts, including victories in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) and Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).

Purchased for $90,000 out of Highline Thoroughbreds’ 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft, the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe next month remains firmly on the agenda.

“She won the Group One fillies race at Christchurch and had a bit of time off when she got back,” Kelso said.

“She is going to have an exhibition gallop at Te Rapa next Saturday and then she will go to the Eight Carat (Gr.2, 1600m) at Pukekohe.

“The idea of going there is to give her a look around Pukekohe because that is where the Karaka Million will be held about three weeks later.”

Kelso said no plans have been decided upon following her tilt at the rich feature next month.

“We will just take one race at a time,” Kelso said.

“We have obviously got a $1 million race on our doorstep. We will get to that and make a plan from there.

“She leads in the fillies series here and whether we take that path or we look to further afield at something in Melbourne.” 

Levante Ken and Bev Kelso Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap Gr.1 Champions Sprint Roch ‘N’ Horse Proisir Legarto Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes