Un­usual girl

Front-run­ning filly’s Spirit ex­cites Cur tis

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICK­SON

IN the last six months Las­queti Spirit has proven to ev­ery­one what trainer Lee Cur­tis has known since day one – she’s no or­di­nary horse.

She’s the type of horse that’s rare in mod­ern rac­ing game.

A catch-me-if-you-can, bold front-run­ning, stayer that breaks up a field and turns races into con­tests.

And it’s much to Cur­tis’s de­light as he’s long been a fan of that style.

“We’ve all seen horses like Stylish Cen­tury and Vo Rogue grow­ing up she’s in that mould, she’s not in their class, and it’s exciting,” Cur­tis said.

“I’m watch­ing her and she’s 10 in front and you get goose bumps. She’s do­ing it in Group races and it’s pretty exciting for ev­ery­one.”

So her pres­ence in the re­run­ning of the Group 1 $2m Sch­weppes Syd­ney Cup (3200m) at Rand­wick to­mor­row adds an in­trigu­ing an­gle to the stay­ing clas­sic.

From a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive it’s been over 100 years since a three-year-old filly has won Syd­ney Cup (Moo­rilla in 1911) and 65 years since the last to give it a try (Ta­ressa ran third 1952).

When the Syd­ney Cup was re­pro­grammed to to­mor­row, fol­low­ing fall on Day 2 of The Cham­pi­onships, Cur­tis saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to test Las­queti Spirit know­ing she’s tough enough to han­dle two miles.

“Re­gard­less of the re­sult it’s not go­ing be too much for her,” Cur­tis said.

“She just amazes me in cer­tain re­spects. In other ways she’s quite un-amaz­ing.

“She’s very unique, I haven’t seen a filly like her. That would han­dle what she does and bounce back so well. She’s only had five runs in and seems quite well to me.

“We prob­a­bly would have gone on to the Queens­land Oaks any­way if we didn’t go here and then put her out.

“At the mo­ment I don’t re­ally see her as a Mel­bourne Cup horse but I hope my mind is changed af­ter Satur­day.”

Cur­tis is used to do­ing things dif­fer­ently with Las­queti Spirit, who was ini­tially con­sid­ered a Magic Mil­lions chance when she

bro­ken in be­fore it be­came clear stay­ing was her forte, and she pulled off, cour­tesy of a crack­ing Bren­ton Av­dulla ride, a ru­n­away VRC Oaks win that will long be re­mem­bered.

Take the au­tumn prepa­ra­tion as an ex­am­ple.

It’d be rare that a three-yearold filly would have weight­for-age pro­gram head­ing into the ATC Oaks but that was a de­lib­er­ate move by Cur­tis.

And it gave him and the filly’s own­ers a thrill chas­ing home Winx in the Group 1 Chip­ping Nor­ton Stakes sec­ond-up on the way to her brave third in Oaks.

“I thought we had more chance of get­ting prize­money,” he said.

“In those 1400m and 1600m fil­lies races she’d just get lapped. I might be wrong but that was my be­lief.

“In the spring she couldn’t break out of maiden class. I see her be­ing un­com­pet­i­tive with the fil­lies up to a mile and maybe even fur­ther.

“She has no tac­ti­cal speed and no turn of foot so I was look­ing for races over ground.

“When the fil­lies were run­ning in a mile race she was in a 2000m race, I was al­ways 400m ahead go­ing in. That the logic.” O f course Cur­tis is no stranger to train­ing a Group 1 win­ner and un­der the “best known for” cat­e­gory he pre­pared for­mer classy sprinter Mis­te­gic to six wins and $1.6m in prize­money in the early 2000s.

Af­ter a few quiet years Las­queti Spirit has helped boost his pro­file though she wasn’t ex­actly a cheap buy at $150,000.

“We had some pretty high hopes for her, like all the horses you buy you just want them to be good,” he said. “It’s only the last four or five years things have got back on track. We have 10 year­lings this year, which is not a bad num­ber to have when you 12 boxes, and we’re hop­ing we can find one that gal­lop.

“A horse like her gives you a greater pro­file. I’m not get­ting peo­ple ring­ing up with three Red­oute’s Choice colts for us but in terms of peo­ple want­ing to buy or lease a share it’s a push in your di­rec­tion.”

Cur­tis said there’s no rea­son to treat the Syd­ney Cup any dif­fer­ently

other race so there’ll be no change in tac­tics.

Just a change in rider, with Bobby El-Issa set­ting the pace with just 51.5kg, and fas­ci­na­tor worn by Cherie Cur­tis.

“How we do it fur­long by fur­long I’ll talk to Bobby about,” Cur­tis said.

“He’ll prob­a­bly want to give her a few lit­tle let ups in the run then try run them off their feet.

“If it works it works. If doesn’t ev­ery­one will bag me on so­cial me­dia.”

The dash­ing style of Oaks-win­ning filly Las­queti Spirit (inset with trainer Lee Cur tis and wife, Cherie) will add a new di­men­sion to the Syd­ney Cup

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.