John O’Shea-trained Lucky Lago will be aiming to build off a solid start to 2014 this weekend after being included in nominations for the 2014 Group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Having secured three wins and three places from only ten race starts to date, Lucky Lago appeared in top form when third behind classy rivals Red Tracer and A Time For Julia in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) first-up on March 1st, and has since firmed tremendously in betting markets for the 2014 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m).
While likely to come up against a talented final field for the Aspiration Quality, O’Shea is confident the talented Encosta De Lago mare can secure her maiden victory at Group level this weekend, particularly if allocated a favourable gate at Wednesday’s barrier draw.
Also included in nominations for the 2014 Aspiration Quality is highly-rated mare Capital Commander.
Capital Commander contested a long, yet largely consistent 10 race preparation from winter through summer in 2013.
Despite finishing well off the pace when ninth in the John McGrath National Sprint (1400m) first-up on Sunday, the six-year-old Commands mare has amassed nine wins and eleven places from 40 race starts to date and enters the 2014 Aspiration Quality as undoubtedly the most well-trialled runner in the field.
Kris Lees-trained Express Power has recorded four wins and five places from only 13 career starts since debuting on track in the NAB Melbourne Cup Day Country Plate (1200m) in September 2012, but is yet to secure victory at Group level.
Lees has geared the talented Snitzel mare towards a hopeful appearance in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) this preparation, but will need to secure strong results in the Aspiration Quality and similar races if any chance of featuring.
Following an impressive maiden campaign which delivered nothing worse than a place over seven starts, Pretty Pins has been unable to peak form in three proceeding preparation but has still managed a good result from time to time.
Touted as a leading chance for the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) first-up this year, the Pins mare was unable to match the late pace of all competitors, finishing well off the pace in seventh (of seven).
Trainer John Thompson is still hopeful Pretty Pins can return to the winning ways of her early career, and is perhaps offered her best chance of returning to form in 2014 in the Aspiration Quality.
A total of 20 horses have been included in nominations for the 2014 Aspiration Quality, with a final field due to be released on Wednesday morning.Sign up at Ladbrokes for the best odds on all races this autumn!
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2014 Aspiration Quality Nominations
|2||ANY DAY WILL DO||Guy Walter||–|
|3||ARTISTIC LASS||David Payne||69|
|4||CAPITAL COMMANDER||Nick Olive||87|
|6||DIAMOND DRILLE||Gai Waterhouse||–|
|7||EXPRESS POWER||Kris Lees||84|
|8||FOREVER LOVED (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||75|
|10||INTIMATE MOMENT (NZ)||Ron Quinton||75|
|11||KNEAD THE DOUGH (NZ)||Guy Walter||76|
|12||LUCKY LAGO||John O’Shea||88|
|14||MOORLUV||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||66|
|15||PORCELLANUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||79|
|16||PRETTY PINS (NZ)||John P Thompson||87|
|18||SCRATCHY BOTTOM||Michael Kent||72|
|19||TRANSONIC||John P Thompson||79|