Wet track specialist Shoshone will attempt to get her winter campaign back on track at Tauranga, New Zealand on Saturday following a below-par performance at her most recent appearance.
The daughter of Sacred Falls will step out in iLine Project Managers’ Handicap (1200m), in which she has the inside gate and apprentice rider Kelsey Hannan’s claim will reduce her weight to a competitive 53.5kg.
Shoshone finished an encouraging fourth at Pukekohe Park in May when returning from a spell, but then produced an uncharacteristic effort at Te Rapa where she tailed the field home the following month.
“It was a bit of a head scratcher so we’re looking for a better performance on Saturday,” said Ken Kelso, who prepares the six-year-old with wife Bev.
“We did extensive tests and couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She was good at the trials and has worked up well since.
“Whether she had a hard run before that at Pukekohe fresh-up and that was a factor we don’t really know, but she looks well and hopefully she can put in an improved run.”
Shoshone’s preparation suffered a setback after her disappointing Te Rapa effort and she missed a planned outing at Arawa Park.
“She was due to go to Rotorua after Te Rapa, but the races were put off so we had to give her another trial,” Kelso said.
“It was frustrating through the winter when you get a wet-tracker up in the grades, they are hard to place so we trialled her again at Cambridge and she went well.”
Meanwhile, the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival has been ruled out for stable star Levante who has been back in work for a month.
“She’s starting to build-up and we’ve elected not to go to Hastings so there is plenty of time and we’ll keep going forward and look at all the options after she has trialled,” Kelso said.
Levante claimed Group One titles in the Telegraph (1200m) and the BCD Group Sprint (1400m) last season before she finished a meritorious fourth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
A return to Melbourne in the spring tops the wish list for the daughter of Proisir with the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) a likely target, although Kelso said a program had yet to be confirmed for the mare.
“The tracks here have been a problem and they aren’t going to improve in a hurry. She is probably weighted out of races like the Counties Bowl (Listed, 1100m) etc so the option is to maybe go straight to Australia.”
Black-type plans are also on the radar of impressive debut winner Legarto, another by Proisir who also races in the Levante colours.
Legarto was a runaway winner at Matamata at the first time of asking in her sole appearance as a two-year-old and Kelso said she had spelled well.
“She has grown quite a lot and is a big filly and I think she will get over a little bit more ground,” he said.
“She’s been back about a month and won’t go to the Gold Trail Stakes (Group 3, 1200m), to get there she would have had to go to Taupo first and I don’t believe she’s an 1100m horse.
“She will trial and then probably kick off at Te Rapa on September 30 in a three-year-old race over 1200m at set weights and then it’s three weeks to the Soliloquy Stakes (Group 3, 1400m), that’s the plan at this stage.”