The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The decision by trainer Lee Curtis to give his always honest filly Lasqueti Spirit a shot in the rerun of the Sydney Cup 2017 has paved the way for jockey Bobby El-Issa to gain a ride in the two mile classic.
Crown Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit was one of five new nominations for the rescheduled $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) following the declared ‘no-race’ of the first running from April 8.
On the day the Sydney Cup drama was going down at Royal Randwick, Beneteau filly Lasqueti Spirit was running a brave third to the Kiwi raider Bonneval in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m).
Her performance in that spurred Curtis and connections to give her a shot against the older runners over two miles in the Sydney Cup field ‘take-two’ this weekend.
She will be the sole three-year-old in the race, out to be the first of her age group to take out the Sydney Cup trophy since Tie The Knot (1998) who also won as a four-year-old twelve months later.
Against a field of fellow three-year-old fillies in the Australian Oaks, Lasqueti Spirit carried 56kg in the form of jockey Jay Ford.
This weekend she drops back to just 51.5kg and the expected Sydney Cup leader will have El-Issa, a survivor of acute myeloid leukaemia, aboard for the first time.
“I heard a bit of a whisper down the grapevine that they were looking for a rider at 51.5kg and I’ve always got on well with Lee Curtis so I thought I’d ring up for the ride and it’s all gone from there,” El-Issa, 40, told Racing Victoria.
“She’s going to have a pull in the weights against her rivals and her bravery factor is second to none.
“We’ve all seen how she runs along in front and never gives up so I think if she handles the step to 3200m she’s going to be there with a live chance.
“I’ll give her a couple of good breathers mid-race and hopefully I can run them ragged.”
Lasqueti Spirit has won a race since she lead all-the-way in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival scoring a nearly four length upset over Harlow Gold (2nd) as a $101 roughie.
Saturday marks her first test at 3200m, but the bookies are taking no chances in the latest pre-field Sydney Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Darren Weir’s Chairman’s Handicap winner Big Duke remains the clear $3.20 favourite to get the job done for the Sydney Cup punters for the first time since The Offer (2014).
Lasqueti Spirit can also be found at single-figures in Sydney Cup betting paying $9.
First-past-the-post in the original running of the Sydney Cup was the Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin raider Polarisation who is at $7 to officially take it out this weekend.
His stablemate Penglai Pavilion is the other best in betting at $5.
See below for the latest Sydney Cup all-in betting markets from Ladbrokes.com.au, odds to firm when the updated final field is released on Wednesday.
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