For a normal horse, the efforts of five-year-old La Amistad have been promising since her debut in March 2013.
But the mare isn’t a ‘normal horse’; she’s the three-quarter sister of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva so expectations are always going to be tougher.
There was talk the mare could follow in her sister’s footsteps and become a 2014 Melbourne Cup contender after an outstanding four length Listed McKell Cup (2400m) win during this year’s off-season but La Amistad could only manage a minor placing over a mile, followed by two midfield finishes over a middle distance on her spring campaign return.
La Amistad was fourth her last time out in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m), a race dominated by Junoob, and finished mid field in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) before that.
But Hawkes Racing believes the distance is key to La Amistad’s success. The mare will get her real first chance to step out of Makybe Diva’s shadow this Saturday in the Group 1 Metropolitan where she rises to her unbeaten distance of 2400m.
“A 2400-metre race is very different to a 2000-metre race,” trainer Michael Hawkes told Sky Racing.
“She’s a staying mare so she just wants a journey.”
The Hawkes stable, renowned for its patient approach, has been satisfied with her form but did note that Saturday’s race is crucial for the rest of La Amistad’s 2014 spring racing campaign, and the stakes are high.
The five-year-old needs a win in The Metrop if the stable has a hope of continuing on to the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
“Last start her run was really good. There was no speed, they walked in front and to run where she did was very credible,” Hawkes said.
“She’s on target and this is the race we’ve set her for so hopefully she wins.
“If she doesn’t win this then she doesn’t get a run in the Caulfield Cup.”
However she’s not the only one. Spillway, $4.60 Metropolitan favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au, also needs a win to qualify for the Caulfield Cup. La Amistad is currently offering $7.50.
Whatever the outcome, this will definitely be the race to watch this Saturday.
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