Trainer David Hayes is quietly confident of winning his first Group 1 of the season with Afleet Esprit in the Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield in a fortnight.
The Bel Esprit filly has dominated her rivals in the lead-ups winning the LR Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington and the G2 Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
Hayes has won the Thousand Guineas with Miss Finland (2006) and Irish Lights (2009) and Afleet Esprit will target a third on October 11. “She will run a very good mile,” Hayes said. “The Bel Esprits are more noted for sprinting but she’s got a relaxed demeanour and can run such fast sectionals.”
Afleet Esprit (3f Bel Esprit – Bonded by Danewin) was always travelling smoothly in the Guineas Prelude before sprinting to a winning lead in the straight. She scored by a half-length from Sydney filly Amicus.
Bred by Torquay based Alan Green, she is by Champion Eliza Park International stallion Bel Esprit from Caulfield winner Bonded.
Bel Esprit can give Victorian sires a fourth Thousand Guineas victory in the last decade. Invincible Spirit filly Yosei (2010) is the only winner by a local sire since Blue Gum Farm conceived Alinghi and Mnemosyne doubled up for Encosta de Lago in 2004-05.