By Julieanne Horsman
Months of preparation come down to two and a half minutes this Saturday when Lasqueti Spirit lines up in the Group 1 James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks.
“This race has always been the target,” trainer Lee Curtis said. “Her whole program has been a build up to this week.”
Lasqueti Spirit finished fifth in Group 1 company in The BMW at Rosehill Gardens last month. She led most of the way but was run down in the straight.
“I was happy with that run,” Curtis said. “She finished alongside Who Shot The Barman who is a pretty handy horse.
“She pulled up well after the race. It really brought her on.
“I aimed to have her peak for the Australian Oaks and it looks like she will be spot on.”
Lasqueti Spirit has drawn ideally in barrier two and will have Jay Ford aboard. He’s ridden her for three of her last four starts, including her second to Winx in The Chipping Norton Stakes on a Heavy 9 track.
“She’s a versatile horse and can handle any surface,” Curtis said. “The big query is the New Zealand horses and whether their form stacks up.”
Leading the trans-Tasman charge is Bonneval, the New Zealand Oaks winner trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman at Cambridge. She’s unbeaten in her last three starts and is currently the $4.20 favourite ahead of Harlow Gold ($5). Lasqueti Spirit is at $8 on TAB Fixed Odds.
“I’d like to see her rolling to the front and Jay Ford applying the pressure around the 1000m mark,” Curtis said. “It’d be enormous to complete the Victorian/Australian Oaks double but for now we are all excited about the race and are looking forward to it.”