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Lees To Give Hosier Light Prep Into Big Dance

Kris Lees is in no hurry with The Big Dance contender Hosier, who made a successful NSW debut in Thursday's $150,000 Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m).

As the inaugural $2m The Big Dance over the same distance won’t be run until November 1 at Royal Randwick, Lees has a couple of reasons for not wanting to run the import again anytime soon.

“Hosier races best on the fresh side and, besides, I want to protect his benchmark rating as best I can,” he said today.

“There’s no hurry with him, and I will most likely give him one more run leading into The Big Dance.

“Lloyd and Nick Williams sent him to me as the gelding appreciates soft ground.

“They might not have been aware of the new race (The Big Dance), but it’s definitely a target and worth plenty of money.

“Hosier has the ability to put himself into a good position right from the start, and that’s a great asset.”

A six-year-old son of Camelot, Hosier is building an excellent record.

He has now won six times from only 10 starts, and the Racing NSW handicapping panel lifted his rating from 86 to an indicative 91 (subject to a final review when he is next nominated) following his Coffs Harbour victory.

Given a perfect run by Hugh Bowman, Hosier ($2.15 favorite) beat The Ritz and Wairere Falls on a Soft 6 surface. market assessors reacted to the Coffs result by installing Hosier as an $8 joint favorite for The Big Dance with stablemates Mugatoo and Scone Cup winner Rustic Steel, and South Grafton Cup winner Surf Dancer.

Meanwhile, Mugatoo is getting closer to a keenly-awaited return to racing.

The now eight-year-old, who has earned nearly $3.4m, has been off the scene since sustaining a serious tendon injury in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in May last year.

Lees has taken him along steadily since putting him back into work, and is much happier with his latest progress.

“I feel he has turned the corner,” he said.

“Mugatoo will be nominated for the Spring Preview Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens next Saturday, and weight will determine whether he runs.

“There is also the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury on August 18 and Winx Stakes at Randwick two days later.”

The Group 1 Winx will be run at weight-for-age, and carries a purse of $750,000.

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