By Julieanne Horsman at Royal Randwick
Kris Lees has claimed his second Provincial Championships Final but not with the horse most people expected to win.
Just Dreaming had been the favourite for the final after a strong win in the Wyong heat and an impressive showing in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic when she finished just a length behind winner Daysee Doom but it was Serene Miss who stole the show today.
Jockey Jason Collett, who had already notched in win in the opening race of the day, settled Serene Miss second from the back. He brought her into the race shortly before the turn for home and instantly began eating up the ground despite the blustery conditions.
“I came off the back of the stablemate and I hit the side wind at the top of the straight and thought oh wow,” he said. “But she powered over the top of rise and the rest was history.
“She’s got a great attitude, just mentally, 1400m first time, no worries, it was very easy in the end.”
Serene Miss flew home down the outside to win the $500,000 race in 1:21:80 – the fast time ever run in a Provincial Championships Final. She crossed the line a length ahead of fast-finishing Newsfan (Andrew Adkins.) The result providing some much-needed joy for trainer Kim Waugh. The Wyong trainer had two well-fancied runners come to grief since qualifying. Uptown Lad had to be spelled after his dominant Hawkesbury win and Manhattan Mist was found to be lame this morning.
Plaisir (Robert Thompson) was also impressive for third.
Serene Miss now boasts a record of six wins from seven starts and has amassed more than half a million dollars in prizemoney. While Kris Lees was impressed with her performance at Royal Randwick today he is adamant the best is yet to come.
“It was good to see her measure up to this type of level, it’s still a restricted race, need to keep a lid on it a little but I think she is a mare who could figure in better races in Queensland over the carnival,” he said.
“I’ve no doubt she is up to group level. Think she will train on really well from here.”