A trip across the Tasman to chase a Group 1 win during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is on the cards for the Ken Kelso-trained New Zealand mare Xanadu.
The four-year-old Elusive Quality mare has been racing consistently in the Group 1 races confirming to Kelso she’s worthy of a shot at the big time down under.
Kicking off her career with three successive wins in the spring of 2011 Xanadu has already raced in four New Zealand Group 1’s finishing top four in each one.
Back in September she faced some of the best Kiwi gallopers of this era and held her own with a close second to subsequent Cox Plate champion Ocean Park in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) before her good third to Mufhasa in the Windsor Park Plate over the mile.
“She would have won that day if Ocean Park hadn’t got a great run on the fence,” her Matamata-based trainer said.
“The form around Ocean Park, Fleur de Lune and Guiseppina is strong so you have to rate her highly.”
She was last seen running a brave fourth to Shez Sinsational in the Spring Classic when stepped up to 2040m for the first time on October 6, a gallant effort that she would have taken lots of learning from.
Her next assignment is scheduled as the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on January 19 where she will resume racing on the back of two exhibition gallops that have Kelso convinced she’s race fit and ready to go.
“She just had two exhibition gallops, but sometimes they can be better than trials because you can do what you want to do,” he told NZ Newswire.
“She’s bigger and stronger and benefited from the break, and she’s ready.
“You don’t go into a Group One race needing the run.”
After the Telegraph she will progress onto the Waikato Sprint (1400m) on February 9 before travelling to Australia where her down under debut is penciled in as the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 3.
She will stick to fillies and mares company again in her second run in Sydney for the $400,000 Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500m) on Golden Slipper Day.
Kelso also nominated Xanadu for one of the autumn’s majors, the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) running at Royal Randwick on April 20, but knows it will be tough just getting her into the field.
“I also threw a nomination in for the Doncaster the other day just to see where we end up, but she’d probably have to win one of those for us to go to the Doncaster,” he said.
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