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Kris Lees Preparing Mugatoo For Next Assignment

Kris Lees will use either a barrier trial or exhibition gallop this week to keep Mugatoo ticking over leading up to his next assignment.

The exciting import brilliantly won the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) when resuming at Rosehill Gardens on July 25, and won’t start again until the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (1900m) there on August 29.

“Mugatoo is in good order,” Lees said. “He will either trial at Gosford on Wednesday morning or gallop between races at Newcastle the following day.”

Another exciting import Korcho (both are raced by Australian Bloodstock syndicates) has had a short break since also winning a Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m) at the same Rosehill meeting on July 25. He carried 59kg that day after previously winning a similar race at the same track with 56.5kg a fortnight earlier.

“I will probably do the same this week with Korcho; either trial at Gosford or gallop between races at Newcastle on Thursday,” Lees said. “Depending on what weight he is given, I might run him in the Taree Cup on August 23.”

The 2000m Taree Cup carries a $100,000 purse, and is a race in which Lees’s horses have figured prominently in recent years. He won it in 2014 and 2016 respectively with Slivovitz and Olympic Academy (since renamed Wicked Academy) and has had placings with Slivovitz (2015), Admiral Jello (2017) and Mongolian Wolf last year.

Lees plans only a relatively light spring campaign with Korcho, who has raced only four times in Australia, but his hometown $200,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18 is definitely in his thoughts.

Lees will have only one runner at Newcastle tomorrow; Wild Fortune (Aaron Bullock) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) for fillies and mares. He has withdrawn Jaja Chaboogie from the same race to rely on the former, and considers she will be hard to beat.

“Wild Fortune was good first-up at Gosford, and should get a nice run tomorrow from a favorable draw,” Lees said.

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