Trainer Lee Curtis has confirmed that Brenton Avdulla will return to the saddle of Lasqueti Spirit when the Group 1 winner takes her place in The BMW field at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday afternoon.
Lasqueti Spirit announced herself to the Australian racing fraternity when, partnered by Avdulla, she led from start to finish to post a dominant win in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) in November, but the filly has yet to return to winning form through three starts this time in.
Jay Ford has ridden Lasqueti Spirit to tenth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), second behind Winx in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and seventh in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) this season and Curtis is confident that a change in hoop, as well as a return to a mile-and-a-half will see a different horse in The BMW.
“After she ran second to Winx, they (Avdulla’s representatives) rang up and said it might be time for us to get back on,” Curtis told RSN.
“She’s just so dour. It’s less about the class (on Saturday), and more about the distance.
“We know she gets treated well at the weights (52kg).
“She’s basically ineffective below a mile-and-a-half. I know she ran second to Winx on a Heavy track, but the bias of the day may have aided her a little bit. Below 2000m, 2400m, she’s just ineffective.
“It’s all about getting a good mile-and-a-half run into her before going to the Oaks. As we’re treated well at the weights, we might be able to pick up some pointy end of the prizemoney.”
Curtis is confident that despite her inability to return to the winner’s circle, Lasqueti Spirit has improved since returning this time and is confident that trend will continue through The BMW.
“Prior to winning the Oaks, she was running around in Class 1s and maidens,” he said.
“She’s improved a lot this prep. Her benchmark went from about 50 to 105 for winning the Oaks.
“She’s got to compete with the big guns now, she’s going well and we’re looking forward to getting to the mile-and-a-half and dropping back in the weights.
“She’s certainly got her limitations in terms of tactical speed and turn-of-foot, I can see that.
“As far as class-wise, you don’t go around winning Oaks and running second to Winx unless you’ve got a fair bit of it.”
The 2016 The BMW field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
Lasqueti Spirit is currently considered a $21 chance in early The BMW betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.