Arrowfield’s much-missed young sire Beneteau added the first Group 1 winner to his record on Thursday at Flemington when Lasqueti Spirit won the $1 million VRC Oaks (2500m) in spectacular fashion.
“Let’s make it a true staying test” was the final instruction from Rosehill trainer Lee Curtis and that’s exactly what jockey Brenton Avdulla and the maiden filly did, taking up the lead at the 2000-metre mark, and giving a brilliant display of classic stamina and pace to score by more than 3 lengths in the quick time of 2:37.73s.
Harlow Gold burst from the struggling pack in the final stages to finish second, and Eleonora, who fought bravely to track Lasqueti Spirit for most of the journey.
Lasqueti Spirit was bred by David & Christine Watkins from the winning General Nediym mare Supriym Story, who has a yearling colt by Albrecht – like Beneteau, a son of Redoute’s Choice.
The filly was bought by Lee Curtis for $150,000 from Robyn Wise’s draft at the 2015 Gold Coast Magic Millions and is raced by a partnership headed by Francis and Christine Cook.
Lasqueti Spirit’s previous best performance was third in Prized Icon’s LR Fernhill Hcp (1600m) at Randwick in April. She placed twice at 1600m and 2000m this campaign as Curtis methodically prepared her for the Oaks. The win takes her earnings to $635,620.
Beneteau, who was bred, raced and based at Arrowfield, died in January 2013, leaving two crops that have so far produced 20 stakes performers – a remarkable 23% of his runners. He is the ninth Group 1-siring son of Redoute’s Choice, whose dynasty anchors Arrowfield’s roster, thanks to Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt and freshman sires Panzer Division and Scissor Kick.
Redoute’s Choice himself has sired two previous VRC Oaks winners, Miss Finland (2006) and Samantha Miss (2008).