A date she couldn't miss has meant an unusual preparation for Supera heading into the $100,000 Breeders Stakes at Pukekohe but astute trainer Ken Kelso says she can still win.
Kelso takes three classy mares to tomorrow's star-studded meeting, including one of New Zealand's most untapped gallopers Levante in the $50,000 Counties Bowl.
He took the rare step of trialling Supera just five days ago at Taupo to get her ready for the Breeders Stakes and liked what he saw as she boomed home wide in a 1050m catchweight to push the in-form Callsign Mav close after giving him a big start.
"I wouldn't usually trial a horse like her so close to a Group 2 race but she missed a few days' work recently," explains Kelso.
"But the way she trialled she is ready to go very close over 1400m. I'd say she is as forward now as when she finished second in the Tarzino."
On that occasion Supera was fresh up and luckless in a high-quality Group 1 and she would only need to reproduce that form for her $3.70 TAB quote to be great money.
There is no lack of depth in the field, with classic winners like Media Sensation and Jennifer Eccles, the enormously improved Supreme Heights and defending champion Yearn.
That quality means Supera is no good thing but 1400m in a small field around Pukekohe looks ideal for her.
As good as Supera is, five-start mare Levante may be just as talented judging by her freakish effort last autumn including when she missed away badly in the Wellington Guineas and stormed into a luckless second.
A slight setback means she hasn't raced since March but she looked very ready for the Bowl, winning easily at the Taupo trials on October 27.
"She is ready but she is going to need to be because it is a great sprint field," says Kelso, who trains in partnership with his wife, Bev.
"I can see her settling beyond midfield because there is so much speed in the race and then the question is whether she can pick them all up. We are still working out what she is. She is bred to stay but is so fast she can still win these races so we have nominated her for the Railway (Ellerslie, Jan 1) too."
The Bowl is a stunner with defending Railway champion Julius, unbeaten flyer Only In Jakarta, in-form Dawn Patrol, Melt and the enormously talented Summer Passage just a few of the stars who could win a major sprint over the summer.
The other Kelso rep tomorrow is Limentis (R4, No 11) who has surprised her trainer winning three of her last four. "Initially we thought she might be best suited on the wetter tracks but she has improved with very run this campaign. But she finds herself in a good field."
Big day in Counties
2.50pm: $100,000 Breeder Stakes
4.01pm: $100,000 Counties Cup
4.35pm: $50,000 Counties Bowl