By Jack Marshall
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will be searching for an elusive first win in the Newcastle Cup on Friday. Despite winning Group Ones all around Australia, Lees has never tasted success in the feature race in his home town.
“It’s a race I’ve always wanted to win and it would be a great thrill to win my home town cup,” Lees said. This year Lees will saddle up three chances in the race with Admiral Jello, Wahng Wah and Doukhan all coming out of the same lead up race over 2000m at Randwick on September 2, which was won by Up ‘n’ Rolling. Admiral Jello, who finished third that day is the horse that Lees believes is his best chance to take out this year’s cup.
“This is the race he has been set for all along with the blinkers going back on and he receives a significant drop in weight from his previous runs.
"He will run well, it’s just a matter if he has the class for this type of race. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of speed in the race so I’d love to see him come across and settle midfield.”
Another of the stable runners Wahng Wah is a consistent mare who steps up over 2000m for the first time: “She’s been racing very consistently and had been surprising us the way she keeps getting over more ground,” Lees said. “She is definitely a sneaky chance at odds.”
The third of Lees’s chances is the veteran galloper Doukhan, with the nine-year-old second-up after almost a year without racing.
“It was a really good run first-up, whether or not he needs another run under his belt time will tell but he took a great deal of benefit from that first up run,” Lees said. “It wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see him run into some prizemoney.”