Afleet Esprit recorded her third straight victory with a professional performance in the 2014 Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield this afternoon.
Afleet Esprit made her black type racing debut with a narrow win in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on September 13 and she stamped herself as genuine Thousand Guineas contender with another strong effort.
Jockey Damien Oliver went into the Thousand Guineas Prelude with plenty of confidence and he got the Bel Esprit filly in an excellent position just behind the leaders in the early stages of the race and the three-year-old was too strong for her rivals in the last 150 metres.
“She is a little ripper,” Oliver said.
“She puts herself in a good position, she has great acceleration when you want it and they keep underestimating her, but she keeps on winning.
“We are just not sure if she will get out to the mile and will have a conversation with David and see what he thinks.”
While Oliver is not certain that Afleet Esprit is capable of running out the strong 1600 metres that is required to win the Thousand Guineas, trainer David Hayes believes that the step-up in trip will sort the filly and he confirmed that she will take her place in the field for the Group 1 event at Caulfield on October 11.
“Ollie looked very confident on her in the middle stages and she is a filly that I think will run a really good mile,” Hayes said.
“I know she is by Bel Esprit and sometimes they are more noted for sprinting, but she has such a relaxed demeanor and she can run such fast sectionals.
“I haven’t had a good look at the beaten brigade, but Ollie had enough class to be patient and he just waited and waited and she gave a great kick.
“We will have a couple of nice weeks in the paddock and then into the Guineas.
“She is in really good shape.”
Bring Me The Maid was well-backed in the lead-up to the Thousand Guineas Prelude, but the daughter of Sebring was never able to get into the race, while Group 1 winner Go Indy Go returned to a semblance of her best with a fast-finishing third.
Afleet Esprit has now recorded four wins from her six career starts.