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Lees Out To Replicate 2016 Success On Day Two Of The Championships

Twelve months ago, Danish Twist was the star of the $400,000 Provincial Championships Final.

Nonetheless, she had to play “second fiddle” to her former stablemate Lucia Valentina, who bolted away with the $4m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the same program.

Tomorrow though, Danish Twist has the chance to also cover herself in Group 1 glory by winning the $1m Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m), to be run under weight-for-age conditions. And her trainer Kris Lees believes she has excellent prospects of doing so.

“Danish Twist has certainly come a long way in the ensuing year since winning the Provincial Championships Final,” Lees said. “She has shown she is up to Group 1 company (in last year’s Myer Classic at Flemington and the recent Coolmore Classic at Rosehill Gardens), and I’m very pleased with her going into tomorrow’s race. Whilst 1600m is her maximum distance, she should get a nice run from such a good draw (barrier two). I’m expecting her to be in the finish.”

Danish Twist was a luckless ninth (beaten only one and a half lengths) to I Am A Star in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington last October, and was involved in a close three-way finish when third to Heavens Above in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 11.

Lees then brought her back in distance a fortnight later at the same track, and she finished off well though unsuited by the tempo of the race when fifth to proven wet tracker Jungle Edge in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m).

Hugh Bowman rides Danish Twist, who can lift her career earnings beyond $1m by finishing either first or second.

Whilst Lees is not expecting to win the Queen Elizabeth for a second successive year – the highlight race of The Championships being dominated by mighty mare Winx – he is looking to both Sense Of Occasion (Corey Brown) and Singing (Sam Clipperton) to run “nice races”.

“Hopefully, they can pick up some nice prizemoney for their owners,” he said.

With Winx expected to make it 17 straight wins and take the $2.34m first prize, the Australian Turf Club is offering prizemoney of $760,000 for second down to $30,000 for the ninth and last placegetter.

Though he is not anticipating a Winx upset, Lees is going into tomorrow’s $400,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) with two definite chances in Clevedon Bay (Tommy Berry) and Princess Posh (Kerrin McEvoy). “Both are in good order and in good form,” he said. “Clevedon Bay looks to be my best chance because of her more favourable draw, but Princess Posh is talented and not to be underestimated. The favorite Pomelo clearly looks the one to beat.”

Clevedon Bay (barrier six) was strong in winning the final Championships qualifier on her home track on March 29, whilst Princess Posh will race in winkers and come in to barrier 14 if the four emergencies do not secure starts.

On a big day at Randwick, Lees also runs last-start winner Rosa Carolina (Christian Reith) in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) and Zestful (Jason Collett) and Savoureux (Clipperton) in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m).

“Rosa Carolina is going well and is not without a chance if she can have some luck from her awkward draw,” Lees said.

“Zestful is in good order and would be the pick of my pair in the Sapphire, but Savoureux is quite capable at her best.”

View the fields and form for day two of The Championships including race replays here.

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