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Lightly-raced filly Achira will be on trial for bigger races when she tackles the Dulcify Stakes

Lee Curtis can see similarities between Achira and his Group 1 winner Lasqueti Spirit and he is hoping she can follow a similar path to his former star.

Achira will take her place in the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1500m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday and while Curtis isn’t expecting her to win, he is keen to see her set a strong platform for races deeper in the spring.

Now training in partnership with his wife Cherie, Curtis has an uncanny knack of unearthing a good horse, despite operating a boutique stable.

He has won Group 1s with Mistegic (2002 The Galaxy) and Lasqueti Spirit (2016 VRC Oaks) and produced stakes performers such as Press Report and Meryl.

He also put the early polish on top mare Private Steer before she was transferred to John O’Shea.

A daughter of Maurice, Achira showed ability at two, finishing fourth on debut to subsequent Listed winner Xtremetime and placing behind Gleneagles in the Clarendon Stakes at Hawkesbury.

She had a torrid run when returning to finish runner-up at Hawkesbury last month and has again drawn awkwardly in barrier 12 for the Dulcify.

But like Lasqueti Spirit, Achira is nothing if not tough.

“She’s got a lot of Lasqueti about her,” Curtis said.

“She’s got good toughness, she’s got a turn of foot, she’s got a good brain. She is a lovely filly.

“A top five (finish) would be great. We don’t realistically think we can win, but we want to see her run well and pull up well and give us something to go on with.”

Curtis is still debating what Achira’s best distance will be and he hopes her performance on Saturday provides some clarification.

If she is competitive, the Flight Stakes will be on the radar, but if she turns in a grinding effort, the VRC Oaks is a more likely goal.

“If she went super, we’d think about putting her straight in the Flight,” Curtis said.

“I’m trying to work out whether she’s a miler or 2000-plus horse. That’s what we’re trying to find out and you don’t know until you try them.”

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