You can bank on Lasqueti Spirit hitting the front in the $1 million Australian Oaks, and take the odds she can stay there.
The three-year-old filly used the element of surprise to break clear of the field to win the VRC Oaks as a $101 outsider in the spring, and although rivals are now awake to her ‘catch me if you can’ strategy, Jay Ford says expect more of the same at Randwick on Saturday.
Ford replaces a suspended Brenton Avdulla, the jockey who stunned the chasers at Flemington when Lasqueti Spirit led by eight lengths before scoring her maiden Group One victory by 3-3/4 lengths from Harlow Gold.
Avdulla was also in the saddle when she again cleared out by eight lengths at the 1000-metre mark in the Group One BMW (2400m) weight-for-age feature before Jameka cruised up entering the home straight and powered to the line.
Lasqueti Spirit faded to fifth against the hardened older horses but there will be no change to her style.
That is just how she rolls.
Avdulla was suspended for careless riding in the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill on March 25, allowing Ford to renew his association with a horse he last rode to second behind Winx in February’s Chipping Norton Stakes.
“Knowing her is a positive. She does have a particular racing style,” Ford said ahead of his fourth ride on the filly.
“She’s very one dimensional, one-paced. She can sustain that gallop for a long period of time. It just doesn’t happen to be that quick.
“She’s going to make it a true stamina test. She likes to make them uncomfortable. That’s her pattern and we’ll ride her to suit that pattern.”
Ford described the 2400 metres as Lasqueti Spirit’s ‘pet distance’ and felt she would also benefit from competing against her own age and sex.
Trained by Lee Curtis at Rosehill, Lasqueti Spirit is an $8.50 chance at Sportsbet with New Zealand Oaks winner Bonneval the $3.80 favourite despite some concerns over her ability right-handed.
Lasqueti Spirit is aiming to become the first filly to complete the VRC Oaks-Australian Oaks double since Serenade Rose in 2006.