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By Graham Potter | Sunday, October 8, 2023

Legarto has rubber-stamped the fact that she is right on track for the $10 million Golden Eagle by posting a resounding win in the Listed Matamata Cup over 1600m on Saturday.

The Ken and Bev Kelso trained four-year-old daughter of Proisir had missed a scheduled run last week at Matamata when she was scratched from the Arrowfield Stud Plate because of heavy racing surface, but she never missed a beat once back in action and she always had the Cup well within her keeping as she held off the Aquacade over the concluding stages to score by 0.80 lengths.

The Golden Eagle will be run over 1500m at Rosehill on November 4, where Legarto could be set to test her mettle against the likes of the ruling race favourite Amelia’s Jewel, if Simon Miller chooses to go that route with the Cox Plate also a possible target for the mare … and that whould set up quite a clash between these two high class performers.

The Simon Miller trained Amelia’s Jewel has won nine of her eleven starts, including a Group 1 win in the Northerly at Ascot in December. She is unbeaten in two starts in her latest preparation having taken out the Let’s Elope and the Stocks … both Group 2 races … in her two outings in September.

Legarto has won seven out of her nine starts, and her record boasts two Group 1 wins in the NZ 1000 Guineas over 1600m at Riccarton last November and, perhaps more significantly, in the Australian Guineas at Flemington in March, when she displayed her talent to maximum effect in Australia.

"She's had a really good blow (in the Matamata Cup), so this should clean her up nicely,” Legarto’s regular jockey Ryan Elliot told the LoveRacing NZ Newsdesk. "I've never ridden another horse like her, and I think she's a lot stronger now than she was as a three-year-old. She can carry herself properly now, and she's so switched on. The penny has finally dropped. Onwards and upwards for her.”

"We're pretty well on track again now, I think,” added Ken Kelso.

Legarto’s latest win and both the trainers and jockeys comment mean that her rivals in the Golden Eagle have been put on notice about the threat she will pose come the grand showdown.

Not that anyone needs any reminder of the prowess the best of the New Zealanders bring with them with the wins of Te Akau’s fifteen-time winner, Imperatriz, who smashed them in the Group 1 Moir Stakes last time out to complete a run of three feature race successes in Australia, is still very fresh in the memory.

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