A daring front running ride by Brenton Avdulla helped produce the biggest upset of the Melbourne Spring Carnival when he and Lasqueti Spirit cruised to victory in today’s Group One Victorian Oaks (2500m) at Flemington.
The pre-race plans of connections to take up the running and make it a true staying test provided the best possible result with a dominant, almost four length success.Sent out at triple figure odds with most outlets including on course bookmakers, Lasqueti Spirit was the dominant staying filly on the day, crushing her rivals. The performance was impressive considering it was seconds faster than last year’s Oaks won by Jameka.At the post Lasqueti Spirit held a three and three quarter length margin over the much more fancied Harlow Gold, while Eleonora was another length and a half behind in third place.
“Wow this is special,” a beaming Avdulla said. “I haven’t been here (at Flemington) for the first two days (of the carnival) and then we got the call up and my manager said to have a look at her run the other day – it was a good effort.”
“It’s very special to win a big race here in my home town. I couldn’t be happier!”
Avdulla had time to salute just after the winning post by bowing to the massive Oaks Day crowd – few of which would have been on the $101 chance.
“It was our plan to go forward,” senior part owner Frank Cook said. “It was Brenton’s plan, it was Lee’s plan and it was my plan. We thought she would run the 2500 (metres) so lets make it a true staying test.”
“It’s an unbelievable thrill,” Cook added.
Rosehill trainer Lee Curtis, who originally purchased the filly to win a Golden Slipper, said the Oaks was the main goal for Lasqueti Spirit after her run in the Fernhill Handicap.
“We had a lot of confidence in her,” Curtis said. “She lacks a turn of foot but she’s got class and every other aspect at home.”
“This is the race we set her for. We built her up in distance. We went 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800 and then she had the run over 2400 and that’s hardened her to be right for today.”
“We had nothing to lose. We were 150 or 200/1 and one bloke got 500/1 about her. We could afford to take a gamble and ride her a bit silly and if it came off we were geniuses.”
“Big credit to Frank and Christine (Cook),” Curtis noted. “They’ve been so good to me and they brought this filly and leased half to clients of mine. I’ve got one guy who’s raced horses with me for 25 years and he’s only a battler – he’ll be going crazy for a month – it just makes you cry!”
“I can’t describe it. It’s just thrilling. It’s what we strive for. It’s what we get out of bed for. I’m really humbled.”
Lasqueti Spirit was purchased by Curtis from the Robyn Wise draft for $150,000 on Day Five of the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale during Book Two of the auction.
Today’s Oaks heroine is the first Group One winner for her sire, former outstanding juvenile Beneteau, an exciting stallion sadly lost to the breeding industry after only serving a few seasons at Arrowfield Stud.
She is one of three winners, from three to race, for the two-year-old winning and Melbourne placed General Nediym mare Supriym Story.
Also the dam of winners Supersay and Pure Greed, Supriym Story is from a Grand Lodge mare and is a half sister to stakes winner My Destiny and group placegetter Queen’s Elect.
Hers is also the family of Doomben Cup winner Mr Bureaucrat and fellow Australian stakes performers All Black Gold, Mi Chiamo, Fuerza and Nozomi Express.
Winner: Lasqueti Spirit
Breeding: Beneteau-Supriym Story (General Nediym)
Race: VRC Victoria Oaks G1 (2500m)
Sold for: $150,000
Sale: 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Robyn Wise (As Agent)
Buyer: Lee Curtis
Owner(s): Mystery Downs (Mgr: FW Cook), Mrs CM Cook, AR Davison, Ms CE Curtis, R Croad, B Djura & MJ Fenech
Trainer: Lee Curtis (Rosehill)