Darren Weir’s Victorian mare Lonhspresso will target a Brisbane Group 1 win in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 after her eye-catching stakes win at home over the weekend.
The four-year-old daughter of Lonhro enjoyed a narrow victory over the Mick Price-trained Le Bonsir in the $120,000 Listed The Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday overcoming a wide barrier 13 (of 14) draw to do so in a fast finishing performance.
It was her second run of the season and an improvement on her first-up third over the 1100m there a fortnight before.
Winner of the Group 2 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) in Adelaide in March last year, the lightly-raced Lonhspresso will now have her 11th career start in Queensland Saturday week.
She travels to the Sunshine State for the first time on the back of her Straight Six triumph, a brave effort where Group 3 DC McKay Stakes winner Essay Raider finished third.
“It’s a credit to Darren Weir, she needed to win today if she was to have a shot in Queensland and thankfully she got the job done,” managing owner Darren Dance told Racing Victoria on Saturday.
“I thought it was a really smart ride by Michelle Payne, she’s a gem of a rider down the straight here at Flemington
“It’s typical of the way Darren Weir trains, the horses just get better as they get deeper into the preparation.
“He’s a genius at setting a horse for a particular race and those two races in Queensland are the ones she’s been set for.”
Her opening Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival assignment is scheduled June 7 on Stradbroke Handicap Day in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm’s Queensland Oaks Day.
She’ll then back-up on June 21 returning to the track for the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).
The extra distance of the both races is set to suit her too after Lonhspresso came from the back of the field, travelled the widest round the home turn and was able to make up all the ground over the final 200m to score by a long-head.
“She surprised me a bit today,” winning jockey Payne said post-win.
“I’ve seen her race a lot and ridden her a couple of times in track work and I had a plan today to leave her alone early and save her for one last crack at them.
“I was a little bit concerned after we’d gone 200m because she was half off the bit but I just had to maintain my plan and let her get comfortable and when it was time to go she really quickened and was strong through the line.
“It was a really good win.
“I was so excited when I was called up for the ride today. It’s great to get the win on her for Darren Dance and of course Darren Weir who has obviously been a really big supporter of mine.”
The set weights Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 for fillies and mares is the final major of the season before attention turns to the spring.
It was won last year by Sydney raider Red Tracer, Chris Waller’s mare finally winning her opening Group 1 after plenty of close calls on the back of a Dane Ripper victory.
Red Tracer (2013) was one of three recent Tattersall’s Tiara winners along with Yosei (2011) and Russeting (2009) to come out of the Dane Ripper three weeks later, something Weir is hoping to do with Lonhspresso this year.
2014 Tattersall’s Tiara nominations close on June 16 and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
In the meantime punters have this Saturday’s Queensland Oaks and the trio of Group 1s on the Stradbroke Handicap Day card the following weekend to enjoy.
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