Lee Curtis in awe of Winx as fairytale filly Lasqueti Spirit takes her on in the Apollo Stakes

Take a bow: Brenton Avdulla celebrates winning the VRC Oaks on Lasqueti Spirit. Photo: Michael DodgeWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
Nanjing Night Net

Fairytale filly Lasqueti Spirit challenged Winx for the moment of the spring as Brenton Avdulla took a bow at Flemington, but there is little doubt who will win when they meet in Monday’s Apollo Stakes at Randwick.

Winx’s demolition of the Cox Plate field by eight lengths was the racing moment of the spring carnival, but for sheer theatre and storyline the VRC Oaks win of Lasqueti Spirit created as much of a stir at $101.

Both are trained at Rosehill but Lasqueti Spirit’s trainer Lee Curtis admits they are at different ends of the top-class racing spectrum.

He believes Ladbrokes have got it wrong with Winx as a $1.14 favourite and his filly at $151.

“We are millions to beat her,” Curtis said. “She is a millions to get beaten on Saturday. I clocked [Winx] the other morning and she is in a different league.

“She looks as she should look – incredible – and has that presence. God, she is a good horse.

“We are a group 1 winner, so we needed to start somewhere and this race is the right race because it is weight-for-age. We are going out to lead like in the Oaks but I suspect we won’t be there for long in the straight.”

Curtis is getting Lasqueti Spirit ready for a shot at The BMW and the Australian Oaks.

“We know we need to get to 2000m and beyond to be competitive and if she can finish midfield that would be good on Saturday,” Curtis said.  “She is tough my filly, and she won’t give in but they will be a bit sharp for her.”

The challengers for Winx in the 12-horse field are thin on the ground. Godolphin trainer John O’Shea admitted $9.50 chance Hartnell, which was Cox Plate runner-up and second to WInx first-up over this course in the spring, “was not as forward as back then”.

“He has a long preparation ahead of him and we have plenty left in him this time,” O’Shea said. “He will run a good 1400m and has a good Randwick record but I think his best chances will come as they step in distance.”

Chris Waller admits there will be nerves before Winx takes the track but labelled the preparation faultless heading to her return.

“It is always a bit of concern wondering how they have come back but everything we have looked at [with Winx]  has pleased me,”  Waller said on his weekly podcast.

“She is ticking all the boxes. She has had a good break and had two [barrier] trials and the horse is terrific.”

Waller will start the campaigns of his staying team with Preferment, Libran and Scared Master all using the Apollo as a building block, while Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up Endless Drama could run into a place even from barrier 14.

“He is a really promising horse that has now had the benefit of an Australian preparation,” Waller said. “We have seen him trial well and we have seen him work well.

“They could be a bit sharp for him, and the draw is a bit of a concern, but he is the one to watch out of the race.”

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