IN Racing
Valiant Levante on target for Randwick test
Top-class mare Levante has taken no harm from her courageous effort in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) with the focus now on a date against her own sex.
NZ Racing Desk | March 21, 2023
Levante will head to the Gr.1 Queen of the Turf Stakes next month. Photo: Race Images

Top-class mare Levante has taken no harm from her courageous effort in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) with the focus now on a date against her own sex.

The multiple top-flight winner came from the tail of the field in a slowly run event at Rosehill to run fifth and a performance that has confirmed the original plan to progress on to the Gr.1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained Levante went back to the tail from a wide barrier in the George Ryder and did exceptionally well to finish within less than a length of Godolphin’s champion performer Anamoe.

“It was a terrific run and we were very happy with her. She has come through the race well, it was a very hot day over there and she coped with all of it well,” Ken Kelso said.

“She ran a tick under 33s for her last 600m and it’s a bit hard to pick them up from there so it was a good run.”

Expatriate New Zealand jockey Michael Dee partnered the six-year-old at Rosehill and was lavish in his praise of the performance from the daughter of Proisir.

“It was a massive effort, I thought we were going to pick them up on the corner. Probably a career best effort. Any rain would help,” he said.

Levante will step out next at Randwick on April 8 in the Queen of the Turf under weight-for-age conditions against fillies and mares.

It will present her with another opportunity to further her record at the highest level following victories in the last two editions of Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m), the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) and the Gr.1 Otaki Maori WFA Classic (1600m).

Meanwhile, stablemate Legarto is enjoying an easy time back at the Waikato property of part-owner Phillip Brown, also involved in the syndicate behind Levante, following her heroics in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.

“She’s spelling at Ancroft Stud and she’s all good. She’ll have six or eight weeks out and we’ll check her out after six weeks and see how she’s doing,” Kelso said.

“We haven’t set any plans for her as yet.”

On the domestic front, the well-related Les Crayeres turned in a solid effort to finish fourth in the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday.

It was the Sir Peter Vela-bred and raced daughter of Redoute’s Choice’s first appearance since she ran fourth in the Listed Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) in early February.

“We haven’t really decided where she goes next, we haven’t set a plan yet and we’ll talk to (Pencarrow Stud Racing Manager) Garry Cossey,” Kelso said.

A half-sister to stakes winner Dolmabache and Cote D’Or, Les Crayeres is out of a half-sister to the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) winner Grand Echezeaux and the dam of the multiple Group One winner and successful sire Darci Brahma.

It is a highly decorated Pencarrow Stud family that also features the farm’s champion Australasian stayer and four-time Group One winner Ethereal. 

Anamoe Australasian Oaks Cote D’Or Darci Brahma Dolmabache Ethereal A$1 million Gr.1 Australian Guineas Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes Gr.1 Otaki Maori WFA Classic Gr.1 Queen of the Turf Stakes Gr.1 Telegraph Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes Grand Echezeaux Ken Kelso Legarto Levante Pencarrow Stud Phillip Brown Proisir