Levendi set to follow spring Cups trail
Peter Gelagotis only needs to check the results of Melbourne’s spring weight-for-age races over the past year to know it’s not impossible for Levendi to come back to racing with an unexpected win at Group One level.
Levendi runs in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday and is the rank outsider but Gelagotis can take heart from last year’s result.
On that occasion, Perth galloper Gatting won at $101 and that horse will again be in Saturday’s renewal.
In September last year, Black Heart Bart took out the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield at $101, his first win in two-and-a-half years, and last week at Moonee Valley eight-year-old Humidor claimed the Group Two Feehan Stakes to post his first win in two years.
Levendi hasn’t won a race since the 2018 Australian Derby at Randwick and has only had three starts since.
“This is the first preparation everything has gone right. He’s going great. His work has been really sharp and I’m thrilled with the way he is going,” Gelagotis said.
“Everybody has written him off but we think he’s in for a really good campaign.
“He’s had a good, long, solid build up and his work over the last month has been sharp.”
Gelagotis said so many things had gone wrong in the past two years since his Group One win with the son of Pierro.
“This is the first time in ages he hasn’t had one thing or another. In previous preparations he’s had a fractured hip, copped a virus,” Gelagotis said.
“This time around he’s had a faultless campaign.”
The six-year-old’s spring mission is to run in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups
Gelagotis said Levendi worked with stablemate On The Tiles last Thursday at Moe, giving him a big start and defeating him easily.
“You’d expect a Group One winner to do that but On The Tiles then went to Moe and won a benchmark 58 by five lengths,” Gelagotis said.
“It doesn’t mean anything going into Saturday but it shows he’s going well.
“This is a nice kick-off for him. We’ve got the Cups in mind and his best distance is 2000 metres to 2400 metres.”
Levendi has 53.5kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
He will be ridden by Jason Maskiell and is one of two Flemington mounts for the jockey along with Hellova Street in the Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).