Afleet Esprit raced herself further up Schweppes Thousand Guineas betting charts with yet another victory at Caulfield on Sunday.
The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained three-year-old completed a hat-trick of wins when she got home in the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).
Afleet Esprit shortened from $18 into $8 for the 11 October Guineas and Hayes said she’s capable of following Miss Finland and Irish Lights as his Thousand Guineas winners.
“I’d say she’s pretty good,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “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.”
Afleet Esprit, a daughter of Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit, benefitted from an economical run just behind the speed to register the fourth win at just her sixth start.
She settled behind leader Traveston Girl, who was well supported from $5 into $4, on the fence and was able to pop out from behind her to early in the straight and put her head in front at the 200m.
Afleet Esprit ($6.50) was strong to line to get home by half-a-length from Amicus ($17), who was game after working hard mid-race, with Go Indy Go ($26) running a much improved race to charge into third from last, a further half-a-length away.
Bring Me The Maid, the $3.80 Guineas favourite going into the Prelude, settled in the second half of the field but never looked a winning chance and only battled into seventh placing.
Oliver said Afleet Esprit was at her top in the win, but said she deserved her shot at being stepped up to the mile given how well she’s going.
“She’s doing everything right to date and she’s been very much underrated,” he 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.”
Go Indy Go, a $21 chance in TAB’s Guineas market before the Prelude, is now the $4 favourite with Bring Me The Maid at $5.