Bigger challenges ahead for Kelso pair

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Levante

Matamata trainer Ken Kelso got the answers he was looking for when unbeaten filly Levante and high-class mare Supera won their respective races on their home turf on Saturday. Kelso, who prepares the pair with wife Bev, is eyeing bigger fish with the pair who will now step up to the elite levels for their next assignments.

Proisir three-year-old Levante added a fourth win to her unbeaten sequence when she took out a rating 72 1400m event and will next tackle the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham on March 14. The long-striding filly was anything but comfortable in the tricky Slow7 track conditions at Matamata but got the job done to the relief of Kelso. “That track was a bit of a concern but we needed to run her if we were going to press on to Wellington,” he said. “We hoped like hell she would handle it and she did I suppose, although if it had been on top of the ground, she would have burst through the gaps rather than taking her time like she did. “She was still pretty dominant in the end though.”

Kelso believes the spacious Trentham environment will suit the filly and is keen to test her against the better members of her age group. “It is the logical step to take with her, to try and get some black-type,” he said. “We’ve always thought the big, roomy track at Trentham would suit her so we gave her the soft option at home and a three-week gap to Wellington rather than taking on a race like the Mufhasa Stakes (Listed, 1300m) at Ellerslie next weekend. “I think her breeding suggests she will get over further later on, maybe a mile and then further. “She relaxes well in her races and her mother won over 2400m and although you never know (whether they will truly stay), you would think she will get further.”

Kelso chuckled when asked to compare the nature of his two stars after Supera proved a real handful before taking out the Lisa Chittick Plate (1400m) on Saturday, her first run back since sustaining a minor injury that ruled her out of a start in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day. “She (Levante) is a very easy filly, very easy and the complete opposite to the other one (Supera),” he said. “Levante is very laid back, eats sleeps and does everything right and is just one of those really lovely horses to do anything with. “Supera hasn’t improved much temperament wise in the last twelve months so you just put up with it. “That’s just her, she can be very difficult and temperamental, likes to get on with the job but she has all the ability in the world.”

Kelso was delighted to see her back in winning form as he targets the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 7 with the Savabeel five-year-old. “She hated the ground but I said to Jason (Waddell, jockey) before the race to remember she is going 2000m next so just ride her where she is comfortable,” he said. “She got back on the inside as there was a lot of speed in the race, but that was the place to be and he rode her perfectly. “He gave her the softest run possible and didn’t touch her behind the saddle. She came home and ate up so it was a nice run without knocking her around. “She’s only had the one run over 2000m, which she won, but for one reason or another she hasn’t got back up to that distance again this season. “She’s a stayer in the making and will enjoy the 2000m on a good track at Ellerslie. “A Group 1 win on her CV is what we are aiming for, it is the ultimate goal and one that she can achieve.”

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