Racing: Change of luck for Xanadu

By Mike Dillon

With several group one placings to her credit Matamata mare wins at elite level.

Michael Coleman returns to scale aboard Xanadu. Photo / File
Michael Coleman returns to scale aboard Xanadu. Photo / File

Nothing stands still in horse racing. Hours after Xanadu finally got her group one stripes in Saturday's $200,000 Fiber Fresh Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha, co-trainer Ken Kelso was on his way to the Sydney Easter Yearling Sales.

Sole purpose is to find the next star to stand alongside Fix, Bounding and Xanadu at the Matamata stable.

Back home was Xanadu in great physical shape after a race that flattened a few of her opposition, languishing in her paddock waiting to discover her next major assignment.

That hadn't been decided on, although it will definitely be in Sydney.

"We have a decision to make between the Doncaster in two weeks' time or the Emancipation Stakes," said co-trainer Bev Kelso.

"The timing of the races will probably determine that we head to the Emancipation, because it's a week later - two weeks is a fraction too close from the Te Aroha race."

Xanadu had to come from last to achieve her victory on Saturday, but she did it with such great ease that she had the nerve to prick her ears in the closing stages, while many others were searching for oxygen.

Ken Kelso has a theory that Xanadu has had her own issues with oxygen searching.

Kelso believes that riding the talented mare patiently lowers the risk of her getting into a type of panic mode, which upsets her breath intake.

That certainly wasn't the case on Saturday and when she was finally unleashed she put the opposition away quickly.

In what can fairly be described as a vintage New Zealand racing spring and summer as far as star performers go, the Kelso stable recorded six group one placings before Saturday squared the scoreboard.

Twilight Granita came from the tail of the field also to finish second ahead of her stablemate, Diademe and Amberio.

The track, downgraded to slow, was too deep and testing for a speed horse like Fleur De Lune, who wilted in the conditions from the home bend.

Wellington Guineas winner Neo came back to winning form in heading off another talented 3-year-old in Waterford earlier on the card and both can be followed confidently from this point.

A'Larose showed her appreciation of the yielding track early in the programme to display something like the form she produced in her stunning winning debut when she led throughout to score in the juvenile event.

She looked more comfortable than on the Matamata track that subsequently helped beat her.

There is more in store.

- NZ Herald

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