Trainer Ken Kelso is content to sit back and savour the thrill of winning a second consecutive Group One with star mare Levante, before any decisions on her immediate future are made.
The daughter of Proisir delighted her connections and multitude of fans when she held out the challenge of another class mare in Entriviere to take out the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m), after the pair waged a two-horse war down the Te Rapa home straight on Saturday.
Kelso, who prepares the five-year-old in partnership with wife Bev, was a happy man after watching Levante deliver again at the elite level to confirm the promise he saw in her since the day she entered their Matamata stable.
“That win was very special and to make it back-to-back Group One wins is something I think she deserves,” Kelso said.
“All the way through we have thought she could win at this level, however until her last two starts she just hadn’t had the rub of the green.
“She has been bloody unlucky on occasions, but I guess that luck is evening out a bit now.
“It was a tremendous race and although the other mare (Entriviere) was in a pocket, I thought she got out in time to run us down.”
Kelso admitted to some anxious moments when he saw rider Ryan Elliot out wide and challenging at the 600m but had the belief that his charge could do the job from there.
“I think the circumstances of the race meant Ryan got in the position he did, but there were a few concerns for a while there,” he said.
“When you end up winning the race there is not much more you can say, but I’m pleased he took the bull by the horns and made a decision that proved to be the winning one.
“That’s why you put those guys on and we got the result we wanted.”
Kelso will now take a few days to let the dust settle before he sits down with the mare’s connections to discuss what the future holds.
“She has always been a good eater and she got home last night and licked the bowl clean and was waiting for her breakfast this morning,” he said.
“We haven’t discussed where we go next and I spoke with Phillip Brown (co-owner) this morning (Sunday) and he was just keen to enjoy the moment before we plan for anything else.
“There are options for her, including Australia, so when we sit down there will be everything on the table to discuss.”
Levante has now taken her career record to ten wins from 15 starts and over $560,000 in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk