Entriviere Ready for Group 1 - Round 3

Date: 11 Feb 2022

Entriviere Ready for Group 1 - Round 3


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Entriviere and Levante line up for round three in BCD Group Sprint


Railway-winning pair Entriviere and Opie Bosson may have an advantage over arch rival Levante if Saturday's BCD Group Sprint is run on a rain-affected track.

The score stands at one-all after a pair of eagerly anticipated Group One clashes in January, and now standout sprinting mares Entriviere and Levante will meet again for what is shaping as a tie-breaker in Saturday's Gr. 1 BCD Group Sprint at Te Rapa.

Entriviere drew first blood in the rivalry with a scintillating performance in the Sistema Railway at Ellerslie on New Year's Day, replicating her Sydney spring form with a brilliant burst from third-last to win with ease. Levante finished second, a length and a half behind.

But the tables were turned in the Gr. 1 Telegraph at Trentham two weeks later. Levante was a world away from her early reputation for slow starts and last-minute finishes, breaking sharply from the gates and racing in third before taking control at the top of the straight. She held out Roch ‘N' Horse in a head-bobbing battle to the wire, with Entriviere making late ground from last for fifth.

“That was definitely one of the most satisfying Group One wins we've had,” said Ken Kelso, who trains Levante in partnership with his wife Bev. “She's a mare that really deserved to win one, and it was particularly pleasing to tick that box with a very impressive performance in the Telegraph.

“I've been happy with her since then. She had a reasonably hard race down there, so we gave her an easy week once she got back home. Then we started to bring her up again, and she worked pleasingly in an exhibition gallop at Tauranga on Sunday. We're very happy with her, it's all gone to plan and everything's on track ahead of this weekend.”

A potential spanner in the works for Levante's deciding third-round clash with Entriviere is the weather and track conditions. Te Rapa was rated Dead6 on Tuesday, with MetService forecasting rain for Friday and Saturday.

“That would be our one concern,” Kelso said. “She copes with a bit of moisture in the ground, but probably wouldn't want anything worse than a 6 or a 7.

“I was a bit surprised to see Te Rapa rated a Dead6 this morning after 91mm of rain, but I talked to Bart Cowan (track manager) about it, and he told me the ground had been reasonably firm before that rain came. He hadn't been putting moisture on it, so it was just that rain that took it out to a 6.

“We'd be reasonably happy if it stayed around there, but there is rain in the forecast later in the week. We'll just be hoping that holds off.”

Rain-affected ground holds no fears for the connections of Entriviere. The Tavistock mare is unbeaten in two starts on slow ground, scoring by four lengths at Tauranga in October 2020 and adding a dominant victory in the Gr. 3 King's Plate at Ellerslie last March.

“A wet track wouldn't be an issue for her at all - she gets through rain-affected ground beautifully,” trainer Jamie Richards said.

“She was deemed to be slightly lame coming out of the Telegraph, but I didn't think there was much in that, although it did take her a day or two to bounce back after the race.

“The main problem for her at Trentham was that her race was over as soon as she got that far back. I still thought she ran a good race and finished it off quite strongly.

“I've been very happy with her since then. We gave her a quiet trial last Wednesday, just to give her a little bit of confidence back, get her to leave the barriers smartly and then cruise to the line under her own steam. I think that trial went exactly the way we'd hoped it would.

“She's done some nice work since then and is going into Saturday in good shape. Although she hasn't yet won over 1400 metres, her big run for fourth in The Invitation in Sydney showed that she can run out that trip strongly. She was too close to the speed that day and overdid things, but still stuck on very bravely.

“We'll look to ride her with a bit of cover on Saturday. She doesn't need to be last, but relaxes better when she has a smother, so that will be our intention.”

After missing the Telegraph through suspension, Opie Bosson resumes his Railway-winning partnership with Entriviere on Saturday. The mount on stablemate Markus Aurelius will be taken by Sam Weatherley.

The winner of the Gr. 2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile in November, Markus Aurelius was outpaced when he resumed in the 1200-metre Gr. 3 Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie on January 22. He finished a well-beaten ninth, albeit with solid closing sectionals of 33.82 for his last 600 metres, 22.99 for 400 and 11.77 for 200.

“They went a bit too quick for him in the Concorde, and you'd think Saturday's race will still be a bit short for him,” Richards said. “But he's improving as he gets further into this preparation, and 1400 metres is a step in the right direction.

“I think being back left-handed will suit him. Rain may not be ideal - he's a horse who seems to prefer slightly better ground.

“But he's in good order and could give a bit of cheek on Saturday. Then the plan is to head to Otaki all guns blazing for the WFA Classic later in the month.”


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