Larpower making winning a habit

Larpower will contest the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui on Saturday. Photo: Tayler Strong

Canterbury trainer Ross Beckett is in no hurry for his talented filly Larpower to break a winning habit. Power three-year-old Larpower goes into Saturday’s Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui having won in all six of her public appearances, four at the trials and both her raceday starts.

“She’s done a great job so far. Winning is a pretty good habit to have,” Beckett said.

Larpower won trials at Rangiora, Ashburton and Riccarton before making a winning debut at Timaru in late December, beating three horses who have won races since.

She headed to Wingatui for her next start and won a 1200m three-year-old race in January, beating home Saturday’s race rivals Adannaya and Choux In.

She returned to the trials at Ashburton last month and closed strongly to win over 1000m, with runner-up Kitty Cugat winning a Rating 65 race at Riccarton last week.

“We were more than happy with her trial. She settled out the back and ran on nicely,” Beckett said. “We just wanted to see her settle off the pace and she did it well and the second horse of Terri Rae’s won at Riccarton last week too so the form looks pretty good.

“She hasn’t raced for a while but her work this week has been really good. Terry Moseley rode her this morning and he gave us a glowing report.”

Beckett’s biggest worry is overcoming barrier 11 in the 12-horse field.

“We were hoping for a good draw to sit just in behind the pace. Kin (Kwo, jockey) knows her and it’s his job now. We just don’t want to be sitting three-wide around that big corner down there.

“She’s been to Wingatui before and had the benefit of a trip away. I’m really happy with her. She keeps on winning and we’d like to think she’s in with a good show again.”

TAB bookmakers have Larpower as an equal +550 fourth favourite with Kitty Cugat in a market headed by Showemhowitsdone and The Gift at +400 and Cambridge visitor Sweet Hunter at +450.

Larpower’s rise has been something of a surprise for Beckett, who trains her for good friends Grant and Philippa McKenzie.

“She showed nothing early on. One day, one of the girls riding her said ‘she’s starting to get on the bit now’ and she has never looked back since,” he said.

Safely through Saturday’s race and with another good performance under her belt, Larpower will continue to target South Island Filly of the Year races such as the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on April 10, Beckett said.

“There are some really nice fillies’ races through the autumn down here,” he said.

Beckett will also look to raise the bar for talented mare Beneficial, who capped a string of good performances in feature races with a long overdue fourth win of her career at Riccarton last week.

She tackles the Speight’s 1600, also with Kwo aboard.

“She deserved that last win. She’s just been beaten in some pretty good races and we think she can be competitive again on Saturday,” Beckett said.

“The horse of Brian Anderton’s (Gallant Boy) is the one to beat but our mare has trained on well. She’s just a length off being a really top horse.”

The Group 3 Valachi Downs South Island Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on March 27 looms as a likely target for Beneficial.

Beckett’s other runner at the meeting is two-win gelding Just Tickety Boo in Rating 65 company.

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