Front-running filly’s Spirit excites Cur tis
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