Trainer banking on spirited effort with Oaks winner

Mar 20, 2017

Ray Thomas - Daily Telegraph

TRAINER Lee Curtis will give his stable star, Lasqueti Spirit, the opportunity to create a unique piece of racing history in the Group 1 $1.5 million The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Lasqueti Spirit, a three-year-old filly, will be clashing with some of the nation’s best — and toughest — older stayers in the feature weight-for-age stamina test.

But since The BMW was first run in 1963, becoming a weight-for-age race in 1977, no filly has been able to beat the older horses in this race.

In fact, the last filly to place was Rose Of Kingston who ran third to Prince Majestic way back in 1982.

Rose Of Kingston was the champion filly of her generation, winning the Victoria Oaks, AJC (now ATC) Australian Derby and Australasian Oaks, earning Horse of the Year honours.

A quarter of a century later Lasqueti Spirit, also a Victoria Oaks winner, is trying to do what Rose Of Kingston couldn’t and win The BMW.

Curtis also nominated Lasqueti Spirit for the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) against her own age on Saturday but confirmed plans to run the filly in The BMW.

“Lasqueti Spirit will enjoy getting back out to 2400m, which is what she needs now, and Brenton Avdulla goes back on the filly,’’ Curtis said.

“It is always been the plan to run her in this race on the way through to the (ATC Australian) Oaks.’’

Lasqueti Spirit is among a surprisingly healthy 14 entries for The BMW, which includes 11 individual Group 1 winners.

Trainer Lee Curtis with winning jockey Brenton Avdulla on Oaks Day. .Picture: Ian Currie

Trainer Lee Freedman has confirmed his stable will have two starters in The BMW — Ranvet Stakes winner Our Ivanhowe is backing up with Golden Slipper-winning jockey Ben Melham taking over from the suspended Kerrin McEvoy, and Damien Oliver rides Australian Cup minor placegetter Exospheric.

Humidor and Jameka, who ran the quinella in the Australian Cup, are also among entries, with last start Sky High Stakes winner Tavago and a trio of Chris Waller-trained stayers, Grand Marshal, Libran and Who Shot The Barman.

Mudlark Our Ivanhowe takes out the Ranvet Stakes on Saturday. Picture: AAP

TAB Fixed Odds price assessors have Caulfield Cup winner Jameka as the $4 favourite for The BMW ahead of Humidor ($4.60), Tavago ($6), Our Ivanhowe ($6) and Exospheric ($7). Lasqueti Spirit is at $21.

Waller’s two top fillies Foxplay ($4.60) and Dawn Wall ($6.50) head betting for the Vinery Stud Stakes.

La Bella Diosa and Lubiton share the second line of betting with Dawn Wall for a race that has 20 nominations.

Lasqueti Spirit is among a surprisingly healthy 14 entries for The BMW, which includes 11 individual Group 1 winners. Picture: Getty Images