Supera winning the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m). Photo: Trish Dunell
High-class mare Supera is likely to start a short-priced favourite to win her maiden Group One when she contests the Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday.
The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained five-year-old has compiled an impressive CV, with seven wins and four minor placings from just 15 starts.
The patiently handled daughter of Savabeel finished runner up in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) towards the end of her last campaign, before landing the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m).
She looks in ominous form this campaign, beaten a pimple when resuming and carrying topweight of 60kgs before dominating her rivals when winning the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1600m) last start, despite racing three-wide throughout.
“It was a very good win last start and her work has been excellent since,” Ken Kelso said. “She has improved and I am as happy as I can be heading into a Group One race.”
The trip to Wellington holds no fears for Kelso and his temperamental mare, but he is hoping the rain stays away.
“She has had a trip to Wellington previously and won over the course and distance. I don’t want to see the track deteriorate (currently a Dead 4) too much as there is a bit of rain forecast. I think so long as it is no worse than a Dead 6, she should be fine. She does like the firmer surfaces and really bounces off it.”
A granddaughter of champion mare Ethereal, Supera is raced by Sir Peter Vela and was bred by his Pencarrow Stud.
“She hasn’t always been easy as she can be head-strong, but we just work around her,” Kelso said.
“We have an excellent girl that rides her in the mornings and we just work with the horse. If she was a maiden or a Rating 65 horse, you wouldn’t put up with it, but she is a horse with terrific ability.”
Kelso has enjoyed success previously for Sir Peter Vela, with stakes winning mare Cote D’or, the winner of eight races and one of the better performers for the combination in recent times.
“They’re excellent to deal with, from Sir Peter Vela to Gary Cossey (Racing Manager) and Leon Casey (Pencarrow Stud Manager),” Kelso said.
“They understand that the breed sometimes requires a bit of patience and it would be lovely to win a Group One with her. She would be a very valuable broodmare.”
Supera is a half-sister to Group Three winner Eleonora and their dam Sopra Tutto is in foal to I Am Invincible.
Should Supera salute on Saturday, she would become the sixth individual Group One winner for the stable, joining the likes of Xanadu, Bounding, Perfect Fit, Envoy and Love Dance.
Kelso said safely through Saturday’s exertions Supera was likely to contest the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
“We will just take it a race at a time, but the Zabeel Classic and the Herbie Dyke (Gr.1, 2000m) are on the radar, but we will get Saturday out of the way first,” he said