By Brad Gray At Royal Randwick
Kris Lees and punters alike were again left questioning exactly how high the ceiling is for Invincible Gem after the now four-year-old took out the $200,000 Group Two Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
Much has been made of the progression the daughter of I Am Invincible made over the autumn, where she started by narrowly winning a Canterbury maiden before going on to run second in the Group One Randwick Guineas behind Inference and judging by her return, it appears she has kicked off this campaign exactly where she left off.
“Last preparation she just kept surprising me. I was looking to spell her and she came through he wins so well I just kept raising the bar and she handled every step,” Lees said.
“She has come back in super order. She has been doing all of her work with (Le Romain) and although he had been going a little bit better at home, she is a high quality mare. It’s good to see fillies come back in the early spring.
“I was going to the Sheraco next but I’ll work it out. Her main aim is the Golden Pendant then hopefully we’ll get to Melbourne for the Myer.”
Corey Brown, who tagged the back of stablemate and even money favourite Le Romain, said he always felt like he was going to reel in Le Romain in the straight.
“I had (Le Romain) posted three wide outside of me but once he elected to go he gave me a great suck up the rise. By the time she got to the 300m, she was always the winner,” Brown said, fresh off tackling the Kokoda Charity Walk.
“She’s a lovely horse. This is the first time I’ve been on her but from where she has come from she has improved ten folds to get to where she is. There are a lot more big wins in store for here. She has got the attitude to do it too.”
What a return from Invincible Gem in the Missile Stakes! pic.twitter.com/cFUc7X5wHV
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) August 5, 2017
Meanwhile, Lees, who claimed the race quinella with Le Romain holding second from The Monstar, was pleased with the return of the three-time Group One winner.
“He was exposed the whole way which was always a chance of happening. He probably just blew out of condition the last 50m but he’s in for a good preparation,” Lees said.
Le Romain’s rider Glyn Schofield added, “He settled just off the speed but his barrier dictated where he was going to end up. He produced nicely but just couldn’t match (Invincible Gem) at the end.”