Champion jockey Damien Oliver believes Afleet Esprit is the right filly to help him chase his sixth Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) win this Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse.
Oliver last won the Guineas in 2012 with Commanding Jewel but was beaten home in 2013 by Kerrin McEvoy on Guelph.
The three-year-old Afleet Esprit has continually impressed her connections this campaign, after recording four wins and a close second from her five starts since June.
She heads into the 2014 Thousand Guineas with back-to-back wins in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) and Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m), both of which Oliver rode her home in.
“She’s probably been a little bit under-rated coming through but she just keeps on winning. She is a good ride in the race,” Oliver said to Sky Racing.
Trainer David Hayes is also looking to add another Thousand Guineas win to his list of accomplishments, after taking out the Group One race with Miss Finland (2006) and Irish Lights (2009). The trainer is well due a win in the $500,000 race.
Jockey Craig Williams rode Miss Finland to victory in 2006 and this year will partner Lumosty, one of the leading contenders with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The three-year-old earned herself a late 2014 Thousand Guineas start after blowing away her competition with a nine length maiden victory at Sale last week.
Lumosty was scratched from the 2014 Thousand Guineas Prelude in favour of the race, which Williams says was a blessing in hindsight.
“She was able to have a confidence boost, a very impressive win, and probably being on a softer surface than the horses who competed in the Prelude,” Williams told Sky Racing.
Afleet Esprit beat her home in the Cap D’Antibes by just a short half-head, so this rematch will be one to watch.
Betting markets for the 2014 Thousand Guineas are due to reopen at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly, so open your online betting account in anticipation.
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