Pride Pair Facing Different Challenges In Millie Fox Stakes

An extended spell in the Queensland sunshine is being pinpointed as a career turning point for late-blossoming mare Lekvarte and trainer Joe Pride is convinced she can continue her trajectory into the autumn.

One of the form horses of the summer, Lekvarte strung together a three-race winning sequence, culminating in an impressive display in the Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes at Gosford in December.

Pride puts her improved consistency down to wintering her in Queensland, and while wary the set weights plus penalties conditions of Saturday’s Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) aren’t ideal, he is looking forward to testing her against a field that includes three Group 1 winners.

“She ran in a staying race up there in Brisbane in the winter then I gave her a long spell and she just came back so well,” Pride said.

“She was red-hot (last preparation). She has had a very short break but given the way she trialled the other day, she has picked up where she left off.”

Pride is keeping an eye on the weather as while he is happy to run Lekvarte on a soft track, she is unlikely to line up if the predicted storm on Friday night tips it back into the heavy range.

Conditions won’t be an issue for stablemate Argentia, who resumes in the same race, however her performance will be crucial.

A daughter of Frankel out of four-time Group 1 winner Princess Coup, Argentia mixed her form last campaign, her best result a second to Buenos Noches in the Show County Quality.

She drops back from open company to fillies and mares’ grade and Pride wants to see some signs she still has a competitive flame.

“It’s a very important run for her Saturday. She has teased so far without delivering,” he said.

“She is a very valuable broodmare, and a broodmare is exactly what she will be if she can’t deliver on the racetrack within a few runs.

“Her best run last time was a second to Buenos Noches on a soft seven, so that’s the ground that she wants.”

A field of 12 will tackle the Millie Fox Stakes (1300m), spearheaded by Group 1 winners Zougotcha, Madame Pommery and Startantes, the first two tackling the feature first-up.

– RAS NewsWire

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