Chasing Winx: Trainer says Lasqueti Spirit is on track after shock second to champion mare

Mar 10, 2017

BRAD DAVIDSON, The Daily Telegraph 

IT’S the type of picture that goes straight to the pool room.

Not many horses can boast being in the same shot as Winx over the concluding stages of any race in the past 12 months — but Lasqueti Spirit can.

Trainer Lee Curtis is still pinching himself after the filly’s shock second to the champion mare in the Chipping Norton Stakes last month and reckons he will find a spot for the picture on the wall at home.

Lasqueti Spirit (right) pushes Winx all the way in the Chipping Norton Stakes. Picture: AAP

“They are a unique bunch of horses that have run second to her and they are all pretty good and we are happy to be in that league,” ­Curtis said. “I’ve got that photo somewhere electronically and we will probably put it up (in the house).

“It was terrific and I suppose it did surprise us in a way but she has obviously improved a lot this prep.

“A few of the experts are saying the bias may have helped her and they said one-off the fence in front was the best place to be but I was happy with her.”

Lasqueti Spirit, who won the Crown Oaks at $101 last spring courtesy of a daring frontrunning ride by Brenton Avdulla, will continue her march towards the Australian Oaks in Saturday’s Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

Brenton Avdulla celebrates after Lasqueti Spirit’s upset win in the Crown Oaks. Picture: Getty Images

There’s no Winx this week but Curtis is afraid another Chris Waller-trained runner, Antonio Giuseppe, might stand in her way of victory.

“She is probably not well weighted this week and she has to give horses like Antonio Giuseppe weight and he is older than her,” he said.

“He is an even-money favourite at this stage and his first-up win was good and he is a progressive horse. But I look at this race as a stepping stone to the Oaks as are all her runs.

“If we get something along the way we’re happy and running second to Winx last start was terrific.”

Lasqueti Spirit will run next in The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 25 before contesting The Oaks at Randwick on April 8.