By Tony Megahey
The Kris Lees regional juggernaut is primed to continue a rich winning vein for punters at Monday’s Cessnock TAB meeting where Andrew Gibbons and Robert Thompson are also short odds to share the riding honours.
Lees and Gibbons combined for a winning treble at last week’s Muswellbrook TAB meeting, Thompson has enjoyed regular success, Kerrin McEvoy chimed in with a winner for Lees at Gosford on Wednesday, and Jenny Duggan rode another at Scone on Thursday.
Lees has six emerging gallopers throughout the seven-race Cessnock program where Gibbons and Thompson will be on short-priced favourites.
Irish stable apprentice Louise Day, “Digger” McLellan and Luke Cumberland also have prospects for the multiple Group-winning trainer. Lees has a huge stable presence nationally over the weekend, headed by the return of Group performer Le Romain at Rosehill Gardens.
At Cessnock, the stable opens with Paolo in a Peden’s Hotel BM 58 (1150m). A four-year-old Master of Design gelding, Paolo displayed impressive speed for Gibbons to win a recent Coffs Harbour 1000m maiden in fast time, significantly at $1.70.
Similarly, Da Power is coming off a dominant Port Macquarie maiden win into a Cessnock Advertiser Class 2 (1570m) where Cumberland rides again.
Itz Lily - a Snitzel filly - follows up from a promising debut Taree maiden win for Thompson into a BM 58 WH Benson (1350m) on Tuesday.
Lees's racing manager, Lucas Miller, assessed their chances.
“We’ve got some nice progressive types; Paolo off a maiden win to the next grade is always a test, but Kris has an opinion of him. H’s had a jump out between races and a soft draw.
“Same story, De Power off a maiden to a Class 2 but he’s come on, suited at the distance and drawn well.
“Itz Lily is a lovely, well-bred filly out to ‘1350m’ from ‘1200m’ is ideal the way she closed to win her maiden and obviously Robert Thompson is the key again.”
Cessnock at present is rated a good three track with oppressive hot weather predicted to continue.