Legarto claims Australian Guineas

4 March 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Legarto has become the first New Zealand-trained three-year-old to win the Australian Guineas.

New Zealand trainer Ken and Bev Kelso have landed their first Group 1 win on Australian soil in an action-packed Australian Guineas

Following the incident in the Australian Guineas, jockey Ethan Brown received immediate medical attention and was taken to hospital with suspected abdominal injuries and is in a stable condition. Our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Jockey Mark Zahra walked off the track and was cleared by the Racing Victoria doctor. He went on to fulfill his riding engagements for the day. Both horses involved in the incident, Maximillius and Holymanz,  returned to the care of their stables and have been assessed by the on-course vets, with some minor abrasions but no serious injuries.

Nothing could be taken away from Legarto who became the horse from across the Tasman to win the Australian Guineas, first run in 1986. 

The Kelsos have been holding off retirement chasing their Group 1 dream in Australia but may now have to hold that off even longer as the Melbourne Spring Carnival beckons. 

Ridden by Michael Dee, Legarto ($6.50) scored by a long head from Attrition ($7) with Japanese Emperor ($101) a long neck away third. 

Kelso had pretty much given up hope of success with Legarto as the filly was held up in traffic. 

"She's just an amazing filly and probably 100 metres out you thought you were going to run fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, to be lucky," Kelso said. 

"She does things other horses can't do and she's pretty special. 

"We weren't going to retire until we got a Group 1 in Australia. We've only ever bought Group 1 horses over here and we've run about three seconds. 

"It's massive. We just can't believe it." 

Kelso indicated Legarto would return to New Zealand to be spelled and then prepare for the spring. 

"She's had a big season,. She's had two trips away. She flew to Christchurch and here. We'll chat to the owners, but we think as far as we're concerned, she should have a bit of a break and then come back and dream about Cox Plates, Caulfield Cups, that sort of thing." 

Damian Lane, who rode the $2.70 favourite Jacquinot into sixth place, said Plan A went out the window after the colt did not begin cleanly. 

He said the 1600m journey did not count against him, rather it was a tough run that brought the favourite undone. 

"It was a muddling tempo early and he just got up over-racing a little bit," Lane said. 

"The ground I made in the run he produced between the 800 and 600 (metres) was outstanding, but I just couldn't possibly sustain that sprint for any longer. 

"Not that it was the 1600 metres that ruled him out, it was just the run I had on him."