Legarto returns to scene of greatest triumph

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is hoping lightning might strike twice when Legarto makes her second start at in Saturday's Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).

The top-class daughter of produced arguably the best performance of her glittering career when she ventured to Melbourne 12 months ago and became the first New Zealand-trained winner of the Group 1 (1600m). Held up until after the 200m mark, she quickly moved through her gears for jockey Mick Dee and launched a stunning late burst down the Flemington straight to snatch victory in the shadows of the post.

That was the second Group One victory for Legarto, who had won the (1600m) the previous spring. She has since added the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) to her collection during a four-year-old season that has also produced surprise defeats in the Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic (1600m) and this month's Group 1 (2000m).

“That's twice now in big races at where a horse has slipped away on the corner and it's just been too hard to pick them up and we've had to settle for second,” said Kelso, who trains in partnership with his wife Bev.

“I certainly wasn't disappointed on either occasion. She was making ground strongly again in the Bonecrusher last start and would have got in another couple of strides, and her sectional times were very good again.

“It's going to be nice to get her back to Flemington on Saturday, it's a big and roomy track that she's shown she likes, and I just have an inkling in the back of my mind that she might be better left-handed. Mick Dee will ride her again.”

Legarto flew across the Tasman on Wednesday, and Kelso reported that she took the travel in her stride.

“She's handled the trip over perfectly,” he said. “She did well overnight and is looking very bright this morning. I think we're right on target for Saturday. The build-up couldn't have gone any better.

“We know it's a strong Australian Cup field this year, but she deserves her shot and I'm sure that she'll acquit very well again.”

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