Lady Lupino earns chance at G1 ChampagneFriday 19 April 2019
Having prepared Leone Chiara during her racing career, trainer Danny O'Brien is hoping Lady Lupino can become the second Group One winner he has trained out of the mare.
Lady Lupino earned her shot at Saturday's Group One Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick with an all-the-way win over 1400m at Sandown last Wednesday week.
On that occasion she beat promising Godolphin-owned colt Chenier who had been the Champagne Stakes favourite.
"She was super for us at Sandown the other day and she has come on since," O'Brien said.
"We think she has got a peak run in her on Saturday.
"She has drawn well, it should be a nice surface there and it looks like she is going to run well."
Lady Lupino is by Sebring out of Leone Chiara and the two-year-old is a half-sister to former O'Brien-trained sprinter Star Witness.
Star Witness won the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes in 2010 and added another Group One as a three-year-old in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
"I trained her mother Leone Chiara and also Star Witness, who won the Blue Diamond as a two-year-old," O'Brien said.
"Further back in the family I also trained Ferocity (Leone Chiara's brother) who won an Ascot Vale Stakes, so it's been a good family for us.
"She is the exception in that she's more of a miler than a sprinter, and perhaps she will get even further than a mile.
"That's from the Sebring side of the pedigree."
Lady Lupino won over 1000m at The Valley on debut in December then finished unplaced in her first two starts this preparation at Morphettville and The Valley over sprint distances before winning at Sandown.
"We were always keen to get her out over a bit further as an autumn two-year-old and obviously the first step was that 1400-metre race at Sandown the other day which she excelled in," O'Brien said.
"Hence the obvious next step was the Champagne."
Lady Lupino takes on some two-year-olds who have already competed at the top level this season.
Favourite Loving Gaby has run in all three Australian Group One races for two-year-olds so far this season with her best result second in the ATC Sires' Produce Stakes last start.
"That's the only thing, she hasn't come through the Slipper and Sires' form, albeit apparently the race rated quite highly at Sandown," O'Brien said.
"She ran time and she beat a horse who was highly rated. It's just a matter of whether that form is good enough to take on the best two-year-olds. But she certainly deserves her chance."