Annabel Neasham took a giant leap to having her second Golden Slipper runner as the unfashionably bred Lady Laguna maintained an unbeaten start to her career in the mud at Rosehill on Saturday.
Neasham, who qualified Queen Of Wizardry for the world’s richest two-year-old race earlier this year, will set Lady Laguna for the rich juvenile sprints as syndicator Terry Henderson’s decision to pluck the filly out of a paddock without looking at her pedigree paid dividends.
Lady Laguna is by first-season stallion Overshare, and having scrambled to victory on debut at Eagle Farm on the same day as Zaaki’s Mackinnon Stakes success, the filly relished the bottomless track during her first start in Sydney.
It means Lady Laguna is likely to need to win just one more race – or even only place – to warrant a spot in the Golden Slipper, which will be run for a $5 million purse next year.
“She’s won readily today and, without a doubt, we’ll be aiming her for some of those rich autumn two-year-old races, and I’m just delighted for OTI [Racing],” Neasham said after Lady Laguna ($7.50) cruised to a four-length win from Gendarmerie ($26).
“They have supported me early in my career and they don’t often have a lot of two-year-old types.
“She’s a tenacious sort of filly and I think she’s quite smart. I wanted to see how she measured up against the Sydney horses, to be honest, and I’m glad we made that decision [to not go to the Gold Coast] because she’s won so well.
“I say we will put her away for a little bit of a break now and she’s not a Magics or Inglis horse, so there’s no pressure to get her into any of those races. We’ve got prize money now, so it would be mad not to be looking towards the Reisling and those types of races.”
Jockey Tommy Berry found the front on Lady Laguna in the early stages and never gave anything else a chance, his only concern coming when the filly wanted to duck down a chute as he tried to pull her up past the post.
“Lucky I was ready for it,” Berry joked.
“Once I established that lead she never skipped a beat and felt so comfortable. She came back to me when I asked her and when I asked her to go through her gears in the straight she kept getting better and better as the race went on.
“Obviously the better races are over 1200, and she won a good track last start. She’s going to want to do it when she comes back on better tracks. But we can get stuck with soft tracks in the autumn, and she’s ticked that box already.”
This article was written by Adam Pengilly and can be ready in full through The Sydney Morning Herald here.