Father-and-son eye off Finals Day

29 June 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Mark and Levi Kavanagh hold a strong hand in two races on Finals Day at Flemington.

Father-and-son training team Mark and Levi Kavanagh has been quietly developing First Immortal into a potential stayer of the future. 

After two victories at 2000 metres, the time has come to test the three-year-old at 2500m when he lines up in the Mahogany Challenge Final at Flemington on Saturday. 

The corresponding race in 2020 was won by Persan who progressed through the winter and into the spring, winning The Bart Cummings (2500m) before going on to run fifth in that year's Melbourne Cup

Levi Kavanagh said it was unlikely that First Immortal would follow the Persan route, but added there was the potential to race on further into winter before a break. 

"I think we'll give him a bit of a break and have him for the summer into the autumn at this stage," Kavanagh said. 

"If he runs well on Saturday, he may run again in a couple of weeks but the race on Saturday will tell whether he will be a 2000-metre horse or whether 2500 metres will be his key." 

First Immortal won over 1950m at Yarra Glen to wind up his first preparation before Christmas while he will be lining up for his seventh start of his current campaign on Saturday. 

Kavanagh said First Immortal was still developing both physically and mentally but was able to win over 1728m at Sale at his second run this campaign ahead of two 2000m victories at Flemington. 

"He's still doing little things wrong," Kavanagh said. 

"This is all about education and stepping him up through the ranks. He's stepping up to 2500 metres as a lot of the other horses are in the race. 

"We think he will handle it pretty well. He's done really well at the 2000 metres in the lead-up runs, winning two, so we're excited to see him up to that distance. 

"He's not going to have an easy task. He's got the most weight compared to the rest of the field, but he's done pretty well on the way through and we like his chances on Saturday." 

Fellow three-year-olds Lounge Bar Rubi and Superstock, who finished one-two at Caulfield last week, have earned a start in the Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m). 

Lounge Bar Rubi will be looking for win number six for the campaign on Saturday while Kavanagh expects the 1600m journey to suit Superstock. 

"We think he will be better suited at the mile as he really motored home last Saturday," Kavanagh said of Superstock. 

"Lounge Bar Rubi is coming off an exceptional preparation. He's won five races this time in but it's towards the tail end of the preparation for him and he's got some weight to contend with as well as stepping to the mile. 

"But he's done really well and this is the Final, so we've got to give him his chance."