SMART mare Cote D’Or opened her Group One campaign in perfect fashion on Saturday.
The highly-regarded five-year-old successfully resumed at Matamata in the Westbury Waikato Handicap (1200m) following a three-month break.
“She’s got an exciting future and her main target will be the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha and there’s a 1400m race at Tauranga a couple of weeks before that,” said Ken Kelso, who trains with his wife Bev.
“I said from day one that she could be exceptional and she’s kept delivering. She’s got an exciting future.”
Winner of the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m) in the spring, Cote D’Or settled at the tail of the field under Vinnie Colgan and the well-related Makfi mare finished powerfully near the fence.
“I said to Vinnie that she’ll get back and don’t change the pattern, he rode her very well.”
Cote D’Or got in the deciding stride to down Killarney with Endean Express and Barcelo close up.
“Everything went our way in the straight,” Colgan said. “There was some cut in the track and that did suit her.”
Raced by Sir Peter Vela, Cote D’Or is a half-sister to the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) winner Dolmabache while their half-brother Tangmere, by Frankel, sold for $1.3 million at Karaka in 2016. He was a winner earlier this month at Randwick for trainer Chris Waller.
Saturday’s sprint also marked the reappearance of the 2016 Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner Ugo Foscolo. He was worried in front by Killarney and blew out in the straight to tail the field home.
“His preparation hasn’t been ideal and I wanted to give him a trial, but they were cancelled,” trainer Stephen Marsh said. “I thought he may have been a bit vulnerable.”