Kris Lees is likely to call a halt to Sound Proposition’s current preparation even if the New Zealander wins again for his new stable at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Lees hinted he may even freshen the gelding for a crack at the $150,000 Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) on his home track on September 15.
Sound Proposition’s owners adopted a “if you can’t beat them, then join them” policy after their rising six-year-old had finished 10th to Lees’s Sense of Occasion in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2200m) on May 29.
At his first run for Lees, he comfortably accounted for his rivals over 1600m at Randwick on June 24. Whilst he hasn’t raced since, the month’s break isn’t concerning his trainer in the least.
“Our hand was forced because there really wasn’t a suitable race for him in the interim,” Lees said. “But he has trained on well, and I don’t think he’ll have any problems with the step up to 1800m.
“He has drawn the outside (10) with the rail 10m out, but he raced up on the speed when he won at Randwick last month and should be able to get across. I’ll probably freshen him after Saturday and we might have a shot at the Cameron Handicap in September.”
A rising six-year-old by Lucia Valentina’s sire Savabeel, Sound Proposition won the Group 1 Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie last year (the feature race was downgraded to a Group 2 this year). He also finished third in the Group 1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) at the same track in March this year.
Apprentice Rachel King partnered Sound Proposition in his Randwick victory and partners him again on Saturday. With her city claim now 1.5kg, it means the gelding rises from 56.5kg to 60kg.
Stablemates Upscale and Time Out Of My Mind also were Doomben acceptors on Saturday, but will join Lees’s Randwick team. Upscale (Hugh Bowman) tackles the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1100m), and Time Out Of Mind (Glyn Schofield) runs in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m).
Upscale, though certainly not disgraced, has finished third and fifth over 1200m at her last two starts at Rosehill Gardens, and her trainer is giving her a good chance to break back into the winning list.
“She is more effective at 1100m and also I’m sure the gap of three weeks from her last run (on July 1) suits her,” Lees said. “She likes her runs being spaced.”
Time Out Of My Mind finished strongly to win a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m) on his home track on June 22 before finishing seventh to Petrossian in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm on July 8. He drew the outside (15) that day and was forced to cover ground, and in the circumstances his performance certainly had merit.
“There are a few scratchings from the race, but it’s still a good field,” Lees said. “Nonetheless, I feel he will be competitive.”
Felines (Bowman) returns to racing in the July Sprint (1100m), and Lees regards her inside barrier as a real advantage. Bowman was in the saddle when she won the Hawkesbury Gold Rush (1100m) at the stand alone fixture on April 29.
Felines has been a wonderful performer for the stable, winning nine times and being placed on eight occasions from 30 starts. Lees has trialled her twice for her resumption, and readied her for Saturday’s assignment in a 800m trial on the Beaumont track on Tuesday when she wasn’t pushed out and finished fourth.
Olympic Academy (King) and Admiral Jello (Bowman) represent the stable in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1500m). Lees rated Olympic Academy’s first-up sixth over 1600m at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago as “okay”, but feels he may need another run before hitting form.
Admiral Jello, a promising staying prospect, is resuming and is building a nice record with four wins and seven placings from only 15 starts. He has trialled twice for his resumption, finishing third to Skylimit over 1000m at Wyong on July 5 at his latest hit out.
“Admiral Jello is a nice horse with his share of ability, and I feel he is set for another good preparation,” Lees said. “This won’t be an easy task from an awkward draw, but I’ll be pleased to see him running on at the end.”