A bold plan to land a Group One came up a neck short for talented mare Supera on Saturday when she finished a gallant runner-up in the Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha.
Trainers Ken and Bev Kelso and Mark Donoghue had set the four-year-old Savabeel mare for the race after she finished midfield in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki in February.
After enjoying a perfect run three-back on the fence throughout, Supera produced a resolute home straight burst to get closest to all-the-way winner Nicoletta.
“She went a top race but just couldn’t quite get to that other mare,” Ken Kelso said.
“She tends to go her best races on the fresh side, so we set her for this race after Otaki where she didn’t get the rub of the green on a surface that was too wet for her.
“She had worked up well leading into Saturday, so we thought she was a good chance, but the winner just got some soft sectionals in front, which can happen at Te Aroha and we couldn’t quite peg her back.”
Kelso reported the mare had pulled up well from her exertions and would now be set for the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on April 27.
“While she has been fresh the 1600m has suited her, but we think her future is over 2000m or more,” he said.
“She ate up nicely on Saturday night and was very bright this morning so the plan is to go to the Travis next and then she might head to the paddock after that.
“She’s only lightly raced so there is plenty ahead of her and we think that next season could be her best.”
The Kelso/Donoghue team didn’t leave Te Aroha empty-handed though, as promising three-year-old Ginger King broke his maiden status with a convincing victory over 1200m earlier in the day.
The O’Reilly gelding had finished runner-up at his first start and that experience stood him in good stead as he produced a sharp home-straight sprint to score comfortably.
“He’s a promising type who made good improvement from his debut run where he ran into a smart type on the day,” Kelso said.
“That was a decent maiden field on the weekend and he did it in a manner to suggest there might be more in store for him.
“He doesn’t mind a little cut in the track, so we will press on with him until the really deep winter tracks take over.” – NZ Racing Desk