100-1 chance Lasqueti Spirit scored the upset of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with an all the way win in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington today.
Winning jockey Brenton Avdulla sent Lasqueti Spirit ($101) to the front at the 1800m and set a cracking pace that left all the other runners off the bit to record a three and three quarter lengths win over the hard finishing Harlow Gold ($7) with Eleonora ($9) filling third place.
The odds on favourite Yankee Rose ($1.95) was always near the tail of the field and struggled to make up any ground to finish second last in the fifteen horse field.
Lasqueti Spirit went into the Crown Oaks as a maiden performer with four placings from nine starts and with today’s win has boosted her bank balance from $30,620 to $635,620.
The Beneteau filly was coming off a last start fourth in a 2400m Class 1 at Kembla Grange and the bookies had no hesitation in putting her up as one of the outsiders of the field.
Even though Lasqueti Spirit has failed to win a race in the lead up to the Crown Oaks, trainer Lee Curtis expected a good performance on her solid grounding and he knew that she would run out a strong 2500m.
“We had a lot of confidence in her. She lacks a turn of foot but she has class in every other aspect at home,” Curtis said.
“She just handles it like a true professional. This is the race we wanted. This is the race we set her for.”
“We built her up in distance. We went 12, 14, 16, 18, 2000m, 2400m. She has had the run over 2400m, it has case hardened her and she was right for today.”
“It’s been the plan all year since the Fernhill.”
One of Lasqueti Spirit’s placing was a third in the Listed $150,000 TFE Hotels Fernhill Handicap (1600m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival behind Prized Icon who went on to win the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington five days ago.
Avdulla made it a truly run race in the middle stages which looked like it was going to set it up for the backmarkers, but he had all the field off the bit with the second placegetter the only filly to make up any ground on Lasqueti Spirit in the straight.
Blake Shinn who rode Yankee Rose said that the Group 1 winning filly was never contention and might have run her race last start when third to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
“The Cox Plate just took a lot more out of her than what we initially thought,” Shinn said.
“We were a long way from them, got rolling from about the 1100m. I was in a position behind Harlow Gold at the 700m but at no stage was I travelling like a winner.”
“I was beaten well before the turn. She just didn’t come on.”