Having clinched his first hometown Newmarket Handicap last Friday, Kris Lees now has set his sights on a Coolmore Classic breakthrough.
Lees will have three representatives - Newmarket winner Princess Posh and third placegetter Invincible Gem, along with three-year-old El Dorado Dreaming, in the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
But there will be a riding change on Princess Posh, who lifted her career earnings to $561,520 (8 wins and 10 placings from 27 starts) with her gutsy Group 3 Newmarket victory over Godolphin’s Savatiano, whom she is likely to meet again.
Brenton Avdulla rode Princess Posh at Newcastle and goes onto El Dorado Dreaming, with Kerrin McEvoy taking the mount on the former.
Jason Collett stays aboard Invincible Gem, who signalled a return to winning form with her Newmarket placing at only her second run this campaign.
Lees unfortunately wasn’t on course to see Princess Posh win last Friday, but watched the race on his phone at Newcastle airport before boarding a flight to Melbourne for the Flemington meeting the following day.
Understandably, he would dearly love to add the Coolmore – a race his late father Max won five times – to his record.
“All three are in great order, and going into the race in good form,” he said.
“Princess Posh and Invincible Gem have come through the Newmarket without any problems, and El Dorado Dreaming has trained on well since her good third in the Surround Stakes (1400m Group 1) at Randwick last Saturday week.”
Lees has had 12 runners – the majority of them were at double figure odds – in the feature fillies and mares’ event. Danish Twist (a close third at $21 to Heavens Above in 2017) has been his best result so far.
His other representatives were:
2018 – Just Dreaming (7th at $21) and Danish Twist (10th at $61);
2016 – Lucia Valentina (4th at $21)
2015 – Hera (5th at $151) and Thump (13th at $26);
2014 – Sharnee Rose (7th at $9) and Lucia Valentina (12th at $26);
2011 – Hidden Wonder (8th at $61);
2009 – Absolutelyfabulous (7th at $8);
2007 – Vitesse Dane (8th at $21);
2004 – Lucida (12th at $41).
Lees has nominated Red Cardinal and Singing for Saturday’s $350,000 Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, and will be guided by the weather before confirming definite plans. Singing has also been entered for the Gold Coast Stakes (1800m) at the main Queensland metropolitan meeting the same day.
“Singing will go wherever the track is the wettest,” Lees said.
“I’m hoping for rain for Red Cardinal. He appreciated the soft conditions when he won the Parramatta Cup (1900m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago at his first start for us.”
On the other hand, Guard Of Honour won’t resume in Saturday’s Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m) if the track is wet.