From Last to First - Levante Wins G2 Westbury Classic

Media Release - Saturday January 23

Racing fans were left shaking their heads at Ellerslie on Saturday evening after witnessing exciting mare Levante take out the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).

For those who had never seen the Proisir four-year-old in action before, they could have been forgiven for ripping up their betting tickets up at the 600m as the $1.40 favourite was dead last in the ten-horse field and struggling to catch the runners immediately ahead of her.

Levante cruises to the line to win the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie Photo Credit: Kirstin Ledington

What happened next was succinctly summed up by Levante’s rider Sam Collett when she admitted later that ‘there are good horses and then there are horses like her’.

Collett was left shaking her head as the Ken and Bev Kelso-trained mare simply looped around the outside of all runners shortly after straightening for the run home and then hit the afterburners as she scorched down the middle of the track for the easiest two-length victory you might ever see.


“It wasn’t until I got about a third of the way into the straight that I thought I’m alright,” Collett said.

“She was flat, not travelling that great and a long way off them.

“I had to keep my composure and keep her balanced but when I asked her in those first few strides she just surged and I knew then it was going to be okay.

“She is what jockeys’ dreams are made of, she is just unreal and I’m just rapt to be a part of it.

“She just seems to get lower and longer and you probably don’t appreciate just how fast she is.

“At home she is very casual and just goes about her business.”

An emotional Ken Kelso was trying to keep it all together as he paid tribute to his wife and co-trainer Bev, who wasn’t able to be on-course to witness the victory due to a bout of ill health.

“I said a while ago she is the best we’ve had and I will stick by that,” he said.

“She makes it hard on herself but that’s just her pattern of racing.

“She is just so special although I had my eyes closed when they were coming to the turn.

“The sad aspect for today is that Bev isn’t here as she has been under the weather lately. I would have loved for her to be here.”

Levante has now won six of her 8 starts for her owners that include Ancroft Stud’s Phillip Brown and his wife Catherine, former Waikato Racing Club Chief Executive Tony Enting and former touring golf professional Mark Tapper.

Her Rich Hill Stud-based sire Proisir will be well represented by 7 individuals at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale that kicks off at 1pm at Karaka on Sunday. – NZ Racing Desk


Race Result - Westbury Classic Gr2 1400m

Ellerslie Track: Dead(4) Time: 1:22.06
T: K & B Kelso J: S T Collett 55.5
4m Proisir (AUS) x Island Doy (GB) (Doyoun (IRE))
Our Alley Cat
T: V A Prendergast J: S R Weatherley 55
4m Atlante (AUS) x Cat Woman (NZ) (Scaredee Cat (NZ))
T: L R Noble J: L G Innes 55
4m Makfi (GB) x Enjay (NZ) (High Chaparral (IRE))
Star Of Bombay
T: J W Richards J: D S Johnson 55
4m Atlante (AUS) x Astardia (AUS) (Starcraft (NZ))
NZB Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs $50,000
V:JC Thoroughbreds Ltd
B: Mr DC Ellis
NZB Karaka - Book 2 $12,000
V:Mapperley Stud Ltd
B: Mr JC Collett / Mr FJ Smith / Mr KB Slater
T: Ms J Surgenor J: V A Colgan 58
4m Showcasing (GB) x Rodrigo Rose (NZ) (Rodrigo De Triano (USA))
Travelling Light
T: B W Foote J: M J Mc Nab 56.5
4m El Roca (AUS) x Cissy Bowen (NZ) (Colombia (NZ))
Miss Labasa
T: J G Bary J: W F Pinn 55
5m Swiss Ace (AUS) x Savoia (AUS) (Charge Forward (AUS))
NZB Select Yearling Sale $30,000
V:Wentwood Grange
B: N & P Balia Family Trust
T: S B Marsh J: L J Allpress 55
6m Savabeel (AUS) x Quizzical (NZ) (Carnegie (IRE))
NZB Select Yearling Sale $110,000
V:Waikato Stud Ltd
B: Bruce Perry Bloodstock
Kiwi Ida
T: J & K Parsons J: C W Johnson 58
6m Squamosa (AUS) x Empress Ida (AUS) (Blevic (AUS))
Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale $4,000
V:Ponderosa Park, Nathalia
B: J & K Parsons
T: S Autridge & K Shailer J: C J Grylls 55
4m Zacinto (GB) x Tawny Run (NZ) (Runyon (IRE))
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