Talented sprinter Clearly Innocent will trial at Gosford on Tuesday as a prelude to a forthcoming return to racing – possibly at Royal Randwick in a fortnight.
Now with Kris Lees after his original trainer Greg Bennett retired from training to take up an executive position with Aquis Farm on the Gold Coast, the gelding is pleasing his new trainer.
“Weather permitting, Clearly Innocent will trial at Gosford next week with a likelihood of having his first start for me at Randwick on April 15,” Lees said.
“That would be in the Hall Mark Stakes.”
The $150,000 Group 3 Hall Mark (1200m) will be run at set weights plus penalties.
Clearly Innocent, last year’s brilliant Country Championships Final winner and successful on another six occasions from only 12 starts, has already trialled once since being transferred to Lees’ stable. With Aaron Bullock aboard, he won a 1000m heat on a Heavy 10 surface at Wyong on March 22.
Clearly Innocent has not raced since finishing 11th to Rageese in the Group 3 Chatham Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on November 3 on the Melbourne Cup program.
“I’m happy with the way he is progressing and, all going well, he will kick off in the Hall Mark,” Lees said. “We’ll look at races at the Hawkesbury and Scone carnivals and long term the Brisbane winter carnival. Races such as the Doomben Ten Thousand (1200m) and Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm will definitely be considered.”
Lees will have two starters in Saturday week’s $400,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick as well as first emergency Knit ‘N’ Purl.
Clevedon Bay joined Wyong placegetter Princess Posh in the final by winning yesterday’s fifth and final $150,000 qualifying heat at Broadmeadow.
“Both mares will go into the final in good form, and must have solid chances,” Lees said.
“Knit ‘N’ Purl was the fastest of the fourth placegetters in the heats by filling that position in the Hawkesbury qualifier.”