Valiant Levante on target for Randwick test

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Top-class mare Levante has taken no harm from her courageous effort in the 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 to run fifth and a performance that has confirmed the original plan to progress on to the Group 1 (1600m) at .

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

“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 Group 1 Telegraph (1200m), the Group 1 (1400m) and the Group 1 Otaki Maori WFA Classic (1600m).

Meanwhile, stablemate Legarto is 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 Group 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 turned in a solid effort to finish fourth in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at 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 Group 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.

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