By Tony Megahey
The 13th Group One success for Kris Lees came with Sense Of Occasion’s Doomben Cup win on Saturday, and while he presents several favourites at Tuesday’s Muswellbrook TAB meeting, an enduring combination will be as popular with punters.
Nobody goes back further, or has more insight into the incredible career of Robert Thompson than astute trainer Allan Denham, as they continue a long and profitable association.
Denham provides two runners of a typically full book for the Hall of Fame jockey, who in 2003 at Royal Randwick, rode his 3000th winner on Tummler trained by Allan’s late father Jack, renowned for Might and Power’s phenomenal 1997 Melbourne and Caulfield Cup double, and the 1998 Cox Plate.
Long before, Allan as a young apprentice, rode numerous times against Thompson, and then in the ensuing years when Allan became Jack’s foreman, the winners were countless, including multiple Group success. Jack passed away in 2003, but Allan’s association with Thompson flourished as he eventually surpassed the phenomenal 4000 winner’s milestone, by far the most by any Australian jockey.
Allan’s lightly raced Maniototo and Aerojet from his Wyong stables, don’t read as Thompson’s better chances on Muswellbrook’s seven- race card but the Denham and Thompson influence can never be discounted on a country race track.
Maniototo contests a modest XXXX Gold 3YO maiden (1000m) off unplaced runs at lengthy odds at Muswellbrook and Scone last November, and resumes after a recent Wyong trial second. Aerojet is more convincing in a Class 2, 1450m off a close second at Muswellbrook last month and two previous bush wins.
Meanwhile Lees’ Doomben Cup win, coincided with a winning double at Newcastle, and he will provide several favourites amidst Avalanche Warning (race 1) What A Sister (2) Sheilarized (3) Moonlight Waltz (5) and Ladies Who Lunch (6). Popular Irish apprentice Louise Day rides Avalanche Warning and Sheilarized.
“There’s no stars amongst them, but hopefully there’s some progression and Sheilarized is probably my best on the day,” Lees offered from dawn track work at Newcastle.
“She trialled well, she won a couple last prep for us, and has been racing in better grade.”