Matamata trainers Ken and Bev Kelso know what it takes to win the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m). The duo prepared quality mare Xanadu to win the 2013 edition and this year’s race looks a bumper version, with seven of the 14 runners already Group One winners, including Melody Belle, who is looking to make it a hattrick of wins in the race.
The Kelso-trained Supera is yet to win a Group One, but it looks only a matter of time before the Sir Peter Vela-owned blueblood notches an elite level win, as a multiple Group Two winner and three-times Group One placed.
Connections are hoping that will be as soon as Saturday, where Supera is rated a generous $11 chance with TAB Bookmakers despite running a slashing second when resuming in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
The Savabeel mare will again be ridden by Rosie Myers, who will have to navigate a path from barrier 11.
“We will talk tactics before the race with Rosie and go through where the speed will be coming from and where we should end up, in conjunction with Gary Cossey as well,” Ken Kelso said.
“It is a race with a lot of depth. I think it is one of the better Group One fields we have seen in New Zealand for a while, but you couldn’t label any one horse, they all have a chance. It is a very strong field and draws and the run in the race is going to be very important.
“We have drawn out a little bit worse than we did the other day and it is a tricky barrier for that mile.
“Starting on the corner is not easy. We will set a plan and track something into the race. I think it is important to work out who you are going to follow into the race, something that is going to cart you into the race.”
A grand daughter of champion mare Ethereal, Supera is a headstrong mare with a few quirks but Kelso believes the galloper’s manners are on the improve.
“She will travel to Hawke’s Bay on the day of the races, we have always gone to Hastings the day of,” Kelso said.
“She is okay travelling, and she is fine at the races when hooked up in the stalls, it is just when you are in the bird cage and you have to get your rider on.
“Every other aspect of her is reasonably good, it is just getting the rider aboard she can put on a bit of an act.
“I think she is a little bit better this year, not greatly but a little bit better. To be fair we didn’t have any crowds at the last meeting with the COVID restrictions, so Saturday might be a little bit different.
“But I think there has been a general improvement in her temperament.”
Noted as a stable that can get the best out of fillies and mares, Kelso said the only thing Supera and his previous Windsor Park Plate winner had in common was their good ability.
“Xanadu was a pretty laid-back mare and was easy to handle so it is a bit different, but they both have plenty of ability.
“We are lucky we get some nice fillies from Pencarrow Stud and other people as well. We have a good record with fillies and mares, and it is nice to get those well-bred fillies.
“We had another one on Wednesday, Les Crayeres, a Redoute’s Choice mare out of Our Echezeaux that ran fourth in her first race.
“If you have a product to start with you have an advantage.”
A boutique, hands-on stable, Kelso said facilities also played a role as to why they received a number of members of the fairer sex to train.
“I think it is because we only train 12 or 15,” he said. “We have a 10-acre property where they are out in the daytime rather than being cooped up in a box and many fillies and mares enjoy that, going out in the daytime. A smaller stable too is a help.”
Should Supera again perform well on Saturday, the quality six-year-old will also contest the Gr.1 Livamol (2040m) back at Hastings on October 17.
“The plan all along was to run in all three of them (legs of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown),” Kelso said.
“Originally, we were going to go to the Foxbridge Plate (Gr.2, 1200m) but we decided to give her another trial and go fresh into the Tarzino and we were really pleased with her run.”