Newcastle Trials 30 December
By Ray Hickson
A second trial win in 10 days confirmed that Kris Lees has ex-Perth sprinter Special Reward humming and ready to fire when he’s produced on raceday in the coming weeks.
The four-year-old did it oh so easily in taking out a 1000m heat on Newcastle’s Beaumont track on Monday, backing up a similarly soft win at Wyong prior to Christmas.
Special Reward has raced just once for Lees and it’d be a race he would prefer to forget, the gelding blew the start then sat wide working on the speed, dropped off then came again to be beaten two lengths by Junglized at Rosehill on Golden Eagle day.
He’s an 88 rated horse so there’ll be a race for him shortly, there are options in Sydney in the middle part of January, so don't miss him when he does resume.
As you’d expect Lees produced plenty of horses at varying levels of their preparations at this session and a couple of stayers that appear to have come up well at this stage are Mugatoo and the promising Our Candidate.
Mugatoo is an import who was having his first local trial in a 1200m heat, he sat back second last and was allowed to lope down the outside, seemingly without any real pressure, to run second behind the race fit Royal Tudor who won by four lengths.
The Irish bred gelding has wins from the 2300m-2900m range in his six starts to date, it’ll be interesting to see if he trials again and you’d expect him to race first-up at a middle distance.
Watch out for Mugatoo late in this Newcastle trial on December 30
It was Our Candidate's first hitout since running third in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup back in September and he had a quiet time in running fifth beaten 12 lengths so you’d expect to see a bit more from this autumn carnival staying prospect in a second trial.
The two-year-old trials threw up a few interesting youngsters headed by the very well bred (and named) Riccardo who showed plenty of early speed in his 800m heat and cruised to the line an easy winner.
He’s by Exceed And Excel from Group 2 winner Bennetta, who has produced the handy Bottega, and it was his second trial so he should be ready to race.
Kris Lees ran one-two in the first of the two-year-old trials and, while Midland certainly did nothing wrong in winning, it was hard not to have eyes on the runner-up Perfect Radiance who was having her first trial.
The Snitzel filly was last out and did some ducking and weaving through some wayward traffic but once she made it to the outside she let down stylishly to get within half a length.
Third placed Saquon’s effort had plenty of merit as well, the Paul Perry colt was badly checked early on, nearly unseating jockey Louise Day, but recovered to hit the line with some purpose.
Talented sprinter Sir Elton kicked off his campaign, which could well include a Provincial Championships tilt, with a narrow but authoritative win over the 800m in pretty good time after sitting outside the leader.
He won his first three starts easily before finishing third to Haut Brion Her and Misteed at Randwick in July and trainer Adam Duggan says he’ll trial again in about two weeks before resuming.
There was plenty to like about the placegetters behind Sir Elton, the Lees-trained Designer Maid showed she could be back on track after failing in three runs last time in, closing nicely to get within a head while Fanciful Dream can be placed to advantage in the country or provincial area by Paul Perry.
A few others to keep in mind are Miss Fox, another from the Duggan stable who trialled particularly well, Lochita (now with Jason Deamer) was strong and Intrinsic caught the eye late.