Talented galloper Yulong Xingsheng will begin a new campaign at Royal Randwick on February 17. Kris Lees announced the $200,000 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) for the filly’s resumption after she had trialled at Gosford on Wednesday morning.
The Group 2 event is for three-year-old fillies and run at set weights (56kg). Yulong Xingsheng’s regular partner Kerrin McEvoy, himself ready to return at Canterbury on Friday night after being out of action since mid-December, was on hand at Gosford to ride a number of triallers for Lees, including her and unraced two-year-old Miss Fabulass.
Yulong Xingsheng finished fourth to Conchita in a 800m Open trial (run in 49.36secs), whilst Miss Fabulass – the daughter of unbeaten English champion Frankel and Lees’s former star mare Samantha Miss – won her 800m trial against her own sex in 48.32 secs.
McEvoy has partnered I Am Invincible three-year-old Yulong Xingsheng at all five starts since joining Lees’s stable. Jay Ford rode her in a winning debut for now Hong Kong-based Michael Freedman in a 2YO Maiden (1100m) at Canterbury in January last year at her only other start.
The filly was an unlucky fourth to Our Crown Mistress in the Listed Lexus Hybrid (1400m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day (November 7) before impressively winning the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at Sandown 11 days later.
“Yulong Xingsheng trialled nicely this morning and is ready to go back to the races,” Lees said. “The Light Fingers is an ideal starting point for her. She looks to have plenty of upside.”
Lees also was happy with Miss Fabulass – a second acceptor for the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March - who did her best work at the end of the trial: “That was her second trial and her first after a short break,” Lees said. “She may make her debut in a fortnight.”
Comeback pair Artlee (Aaron Bullock) and Dal Cielo (Mathew Scorse) both won separate 1000m trials in similar time and may oppose each other first-up at Warwick Farm on Saturday week in a Benchmark 95 Handicap (1000m).
Lees definitely intends running Dal Cielo, who hasn’t raced since finishing runner-up to mudlark Jungle Edge in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) on a heavy Rosehill track on March 25 last year, and is also considering a start for Artlee. The seven-year-old, previously with Todd Willan at Muswellbrook, won the inaugural Country Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick in 2015.
He hasn’t raced since contesting Under The Louvre’s Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June, 2016 and joined Lees’s team last year. However, he underwent surgery after being struck with colic last August just as he was about to resume, when also showing brilliant trial form.
Artlee has won both trials this time in work, having also scored over 845m at Wyong on January 16: “He is a very nice horse who has started only 16 times,” Lees said. “He has come back really well.”
Lees has nominated both Artlee and Clearly Innocent for the $1.25m Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10, and Prized Icon and Gosford Cup winner Singing for the $1.5m Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on the same program.
Danish Twist (5th), Sound Proposition (6th) and last year’s Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion (8th) all ran in Artlee’s trial. Danish Twist, placed in last year’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill and heading toward that feature race for fillies and mares again, is ready to resume, whilst Sound Proposition will trial again on the Beaumont track on February 14.
“I haven’t decided when Sense Of Occasion will resume,” Lees said. “It will depend on the weather as he appreciates give in the ground.”