Completing an exceptional run to take out the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) over the weekend, trainer David Hayes and jockey Damien Oliver are confident in the chances of classy filly Afleet Esprit in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11th.
Jumping from the gates well, Oliver settled Afleet Esprit on the heels of early leader Traveston Girl in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, popping out in the final straight and poking clear with 200m to run; eventually finding the line in the clear of Amicus and Go Indy Go.
Hayes, who has previously tasted Thousand Guineas success via Miss Finland in 2006 and Irish Lights in 2009 said he is thrilled with the condition of Afleet Esprit this campaign and is expecting a competitive performance in her major target on October 11th.
“I’d say she’s pretty good,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“It’s a bit early to put her in the class of Miss Finland, but I think she’d hold her own with most fillies.
“We’ll have a couple of nice weeks in the paddock and into the Guineas. She’s in really good shape.”
Partnering the Bel Esprit filly to victories in the Simpson Construction Plate (1200m) and Listed Cap D’Antibes (1100m) prior to the Thousand Guineas Prelude triumph over the weekend, Damien Oliver said Afleet Esprit is a dream to partner and is excited by the prospects of her maiden appearance at the highest level of Australian racing.
“She’s doing everything right to date and she’s been very much underrated,” Oliver said.
“She keeps winning but there always seems to be ones more favoured than her.
“She’s a ripping little filly, she gives you everything she’s got and she’s a pleasure to ride.”
Securing four wins and one second place from her shirt six race career so far, Afleet Esprit has firmed in betting markets for the 2014 Thousand Guineas following her victory over the weekend and can now be taken at odds of $6 with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au; tied on the second line of Thinking Of You.
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