Lekvarte chasing hat-trick at Randwick races

Gosford’s Belle Of The Turf Stakes is the main summer goal for rejuvenated mare Lekvarte, but such is her vein of form that Joe Pride won’t be surprised to see her collect another win along the way.

The five-year-old has dazzled at both starts this campaign, including last time out at Rosehill when she unleashed a devastating sprint from back in the field to make light of her 61.5kg.

She drops almost 10 kilos in Saturday’s Cactus Imaging Handicap (1600m) at Randwick, and while she will be stepping out of fillies and mares’ grade and taking on some well-credentialled males, she has never raced better.

“I have always liked her, and she has won Saturday races before, but this preparation she is next level,” Pride said.

“She has shown it in glimpses, and all of a sudden she is able to do it all of the time. She has matured into a big, strong mare and she has got to a point where she is at the peak of her powers.

“A confident horse can do things that they haven’t been able to do in the past.

“She is down to 52 (kilos) on Saturday, I’m happy to send her in there, although the main aim is Gosford.”

Lekvarte will be joined in the race by two stablemates, topweight and last-start winner Stockman and King Of The Castle, who backs up after finishing third in the ATC Cup (2000m).

Pride believed dropping back to a mile would be significant for King Of The Castle on Saturday as the gelding struggled over a middle-distance journey last weekend.

“I don’t think he’s a 2000-metre horse,” he said.

“I wanted to find out and last week was a good chance to do it, but I don’t think he quite gets 2000-metres.”

King Of The Castle has had a largely fruitful campaign, winning two of his past five starts and in the process prompting Pride to declare the gelding as his “horse crush”.

A myriad of King Of The Castle’s qualities appeal to the Everest-winning trainer, most notably the fact he was raised in one of New Zealand toughest climates and is related to two horses Pride idolised as a child.

“I grew up in Dunedin at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand and he’s from the bottom of the South Island,” Pride said.

“He is related to The Phantom and The Phantom Chance, they were two horses I loved when I first started following racing, and there is just something really cool about him.”

Stockman’s best form is on rain-affected ground, which he won’t get on Saturday, but Pride says he needs to race to remain at his peak for his next target, the Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick on Boxing Day.

The Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) is at Gosford two days later.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

Bookmaker Why Bet Sign Up Full Review
Bet Now at ladbrokes Back Yourself with Ladbrokes! Join Review
Bet Now at neds Back a Winner with Neds! Join Review
Bet Now at palmerbet Sign up to Unibet and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at tab Sign up to TAB and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at playup Sign up to PlayUp and start betting in minutes! Join Review