Rosehill trainer Lee Curtis is eyeing off an Oaks double with Lasqueti Spirit who lines up as one of the top fancies in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Curtis set Lasqueti Spirit specifically for the Australia Oaks after the Beneteau filly led all of the way to score an upset victory in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“This race has always been the target,” Curtis told Racing New South Wales News.
“Her whole program has been a build up to this week.”
“It’d be enormous to complete the Victorian/Australian Oaks double but for now we are all excited about the race and are looking forward to it.”
Jay Ford finds himself back on Lasqueti Spirit and Curtis will be instructing him to take on the same front running tactics that Brenton Avdulla used to win the Crown Oaks.
“I’d like to see her rolling to the front and Jay Ford applying the pressure around the 1000m mark,” Curtis said.
“She’s a versatile horse and can handle any surface.”
Curtis has been happy with Lasqueti Spirit’s Autumn Carnival lead up form and said she has come through her last start in great order after finishing fifth to Jameka in the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 25.
“I was happy with that run,” Curtis said.
“She finished alongside Who Shot The Barman who is a pretty handy horse.”
“She pulled up well after the race. It really brought her on.”
Curtis is confident that he has timed Lasqueti Spirit’s preparation to peak for the Australian Oaks, his main concern being the form of the three New Zealand trained fillies in the race.
“I aimed to have her peak for the Australian Oaks and it looks like she will be spot on,” Curtis said.
“The big query is the New Zealand horses and whether their form stacks up.”
Mandy and Matt Brown from Rangiora have already produced La Bella Diosa to win during the Sydney Carnival with a victory in the Group 2 $200,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 25 three starts back.
Cambridge fillies Bonneval, trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, and Devise, prepared by Shaune Ritchie, will clash again after finishing first and second in the Group 1 NZ$300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in New Zealand on March 18.
Australian Oaks betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Bonneval at the top of the market order at $4 ahead of the Lindsay Park trained Harlow Gold at $5, Victorian filly Nurse Kitchen at $5.50 and Devise and Lasqueti Spirit at $8.