Keano gears up for NZ feature sprint

Kiwi-bred sprinter Keano has arrived for the $1 million Telegraph Handicap at Trentham on Saturday.

Trainer Danny O'Brien said Keano safely negotiated the trip across to Auckland on Sunday to prepare for the Group 1 sprint.

Leith Innes has been booked for the ride, with Keano weighted at 52.5kg for the 1200m event.

"We think it's do-able. He arrived at Waikato Stud on Monday and we will float him down on Thursday night," O'Brien said of the entire's travel plans to get to Wellington for the race.

"There's a couple of New Zealand connections and he's very well bred, so a Group 1 would look great on his CV."

Keano, a $A450,000 yearling purchase at the Sydney sales, is by Waikato Stud's sire Pins out of O'Really, a daughter of Centaine and champion mare Courtza.

Among the stallion's owners are Waikato Stud's Garry Chittick and Little Avondale Stud's Sam Williams.

O'Brien declared Keano "the best three-year-old in Australia" a year ago but he's mixed his form since.

Keano has five wins from 14 starts, with his best victory coming in the listed Lightning Handicap (1000m) on a heavy track at Eagle Farm on June 6. He was also group three placed at the Brisbane winter carnival.

He won the Red Tempo Sprint (1000m) at Flemington on December 19 but failed at his last start in the group three Standish Handicap (1200m) on the same track on New Year's Day.

"He missed the start by four lengths and they went slow in front that day," O'Brien said.

"He's not a Group 1 winner and he's still got to step up, but it's a handicap and he's got a light weight."

Keano shortened to $16 on the NZ TAB's fixed odds market when O'Brien confirmed the trip.

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