Lee Curtis tempers expectations for Lasqueti Spirt in Sydney Cup

Lasqueti Spirit
                 Could Lasqueti Spirit deliver another huge run in this Saturday’s Sydney Cup re-run? Picture: AAP

THE Lee Curtis-trained Lasqueti Spirit has defied the critics so far in its burgeoning career to date, but the NSW trainer knows those runs will count for nothing heading into Saturday’s Sydney Cup.

The filly has been underestimated by the market in all of its runs to date, but Sportsbet.com.au has the three-year-old as one of only four runners in single figures for the rescheduled group one.

Even after taking out the Crown Oaks as a $101 outsider back in November of last year in eye-catching fashion, the horse has not entered a race in single figures since the breakthrough group win.

Saturday will be the first time in six starts that Lasqueti Spirit jumps under double figures, and despite the market support, trainer Lee Curtis is not getting ahead of himself heading into the race.

“Oh not really,” Curtis told HorseBetting.com.au when asked if confidence levels are high going into the Sydney Cup.

“There’s a lot of variables there, a lot of unknowns, especially with her being a three-year-old.”

Lasqueti Spirit is a $9 chance in Sportsbet’s all-in market for the re-running of the Sydney Cup on Saturday at Royal Randwick.

Saturday’s feature will be the first attempt the horse has had beyond the 2500m journey, and the trainer believes that will be the biggest question mark going into the 3200m group one.

“We think she’ll get the ground, but we’re not sure about that, sometimes they look like they’ll get the ground and then not get it.

“I think there’s just enough unknowns there for us to say ‘we’re happy to be in the race’, but we’re not getting carried away by any means.”

The $2 million Sydney Cup is being run two weeks after its original starting date due to the unfortunate events on the second day of The Championships, and pundits have questioned whether the runners that took part in the no-race will be disadvantaged by the short turnaround.

Curtis dismissed suggestions his runner will come into the race in better shape than its competitors.

“If anything I see it almost as a negative,” the trainer said.

“People have been saying ‘these horses have had a hard two-mile run’, well half of them didn’t even compete for most of the race.

“They are also those hardened horses where a two-mile run is just as likely to bring them on, so that’s not a positive for us.”

Latisqueti Spirit has thrived as a front-runner in its races to date, but the step up in distance may make the trainer reconsider his options heading into Saturday.

In the huge upset in the Crown Oaks, the filly pinched a huge lead heading into the straight and kicked away to record a startlingly easy win at a triple figure price, but the trainer is not certain additional trip will allow the Lasqueti Spirit to race in a similar fashion.

“We probably won’t be as positive as we’ve been early,” Curtis said of the team’s tactics going into Saturday.

“We’ll probably lead but we’re not going to set up a huge lead early in the race, we’ll just see how it goes for the first 1000m, but who knows if it’s right to lead by five, six eight or ten lengths? No one really knows.

“(The jockey) has just got to rate the horse I guess.”

The Sydney Cup will be the sixth race this preparation for the three-year-old, and Curtis confirmed to HorseBetting.com.au that Saturday’s feature will be the final run of the autumn for Lasqueti Spirit.

“100 percent after this, she’s absolutely done.”