Black-type target looms for Lekvarte

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  • December 04, 2023
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Talented New Zealand-bred mare Lekvarte may have earned herself a Group Three opportunity with her victory in the A$160,000 Doyle’s Breeding and Racing Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

The Joe Pride-trained mare had kicked off her five-year-old season with a win at Newcastle on November 18, and she lined up in the same Benchmark 78 grade on Saturday and delivered a repeat result.

Carrying a tough impost of 61kg, Lekvarte sat second-last rounding the home turn, but jockey Tommy Berry angled her across heels and let her rip. The grey mare launched an irresistible run down the outside, hitting the lead just over 100m from the finish and scoring by a length.

Lekvarte has now earned A$437,230 in stakes from a 24-start career that has produced six wins and five placings. Pride’s racing manager Orla Pearl confirmed that the Gr.3 Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Gosford on December 28 is now a likely target.

“That most definitely looks like a nice race for her,” Pearl said. “She ran really well today. She’s one of my favourite horses, so I wanted to see her run well.

“We’ve been really confident in her in this preparation. She had surgery on her knees earlier in her career, and she came back and had a really good preparation afterwards. She just drifted off after that for whatever reason. I don’t know what happened, but I think we just put a line through that whole preparation. Now she’s back to the horse that we knew.

“I was pretty confident today. When I saw her peel out, I knew she was going to let down well. With that weight on her back, it was a pretty impressive performance.”

Saturday’s win was Berry’s first raceday ride on Lekvarte, having missed the mount at Newcastle because of suspension.

“That’s what happens when you get suspended – you give up good rides like her,” Berry said. “It was a brilliant training performance by Joe Pride and his team, keeping her fresh enough at 1400m second-up today and letting down like she did with that weight on her back. A lot of credit goes to the team, and she’s above average, that’s for sure. She was just a class above them today.”

Out of the black-type Encosta de Lago mare Plumm, who was runner-up in the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) for Grahame Begg, Lekvarte is by Group One sire Reliable Man, who stands at Gerry Harvey’s Westbury Stud.

The talented grey was sold as a yearling through the Westbury Stud Book 1 draft at Karaka in 2020, knocked down to BK Racing & Breeding in conjunction with Andrew Williams Bloodstock for $210,000. – NZ Racing Desk.

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