Unbeaten 3-year-old filly Levante will tackle Group company for the first time today when she contests the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham.
The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained daughter of Proisir has been installed a $2.50 favourite for the black-type assignment and has impressed in each of her four career victories, which included a last start win at Matamata in Rating 72 grade.
"I'm very happy with her preparation," Ken Kelso said. "Her work on Wednesday was first-class on the course proper against the rail.
"She has never left the Waikato, that is probably a question mark, but she has a fantastic attitude."
Levante has come from well back in all of her starts to date and will once again be guided by Ryan Elliot.
A good surface is forecast for Trentham today, which is likely to play to Levante's strengths, after the filly resented the Slow7 track last start.
"She hated the rain-affected track," Kelso said. "It was only her class that got her through. Ryan said she hated it from the moment she jumped.
"She will cop a Dead 5 or 6 but that was probably a bit worse.
"It was a very good effort. She has kept raising the bar. I am mindful that this is her first trip away and she is stepping up a grade as well, but she couldn't have done more than what she has done.
"I think it is a very even field, there are five or six that can win the race including Star of Bombay and Bella Mente. It is a hell of a good field."
• Exciting Taranaki mare Sinarahma will be looking to add a Group victory to her resume when she contests the Group 3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham today.
The Allan Sharrock-trained 5-year-old has won three of her five starts this campaign, including a last start victory in the Listed Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Tauherenikau.
Sinarahma has been installed as a $3.20 favourite by TAB bookmakers ahead of Group One performer Yearn at $3.80, something that surprised Sharrock.
"I actually thought Yearn would have been favourite," Sharrock said. "She is the class mare that has got the record to say that, but we are the up and comer.
- NZ Racing Desk