Kris Lees says smart mare Upscale’s Rosehill Gardens prospects tomorrow should not be judged on her previous 1200m performance.
Dual acceptor Upscale (Hugh Bowman) lines up for her second start this campaign in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1200m) against her own sex.
But she has her 'knockers' who regard her as doubtful at the distance as her four wins to date from only nine starts have been at 900m and the latter three at 1100m (all in town, including two at tomorrow’s venue).
Upscale finished ninth to Kinshachi in a Benchmark 85 over the Royal Randwick 1200m on December 17 last year.
“I guess the 1200m might be a risk for her, but you can’t judge her on her only run so far at the trip,” Lees said this morning. "She was at the end of her campaign then, and was coming off a very hard run when she scored narrowly at her previous start over 1100m at Rosehill. Upscale is a stronger mare now, and I feel she can handle the 1200m.”
Lees also accepted with Upscale in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1100m) against all comers, but chose the slightly longer race against her own sex.
The Exceed And Excel mare resumed when an excellent fourth to Kudero in an Open Handicap (1100m) at Royal Randwick on May 27 when she came along inferior ground on the inside in the straight.
Upscale’s chances tomorrow have been helped by four withdrawals, reducing the field to nine. But she has to cope with the promising Test The World, who has won four of her only six starts (the last three in a row), and is another dual acceptor who was withdrawn from Upscale’s stablemate Just Dreaming’s Benchmark 73 Handicap (1400m).
Upscale carries the same colors as Group 1 winner Clearly Innocent, with whom both Lees and Bowman have been successfully associated with at the recent Scone and Brisbane carnivals.
Bowman has ridden Upscale only once previously when she led and was beaten narrowly when fifth over 1100m at Canterbury in October, 2015.
Lees also starts Feelin The Love (Glyn Schofield) in Upscale’s race. The former New Zealand mare has drawn the rails, and was responsible for a strong-finishing third to In Times Of War in a 1200m Benchmark 78 Handicap at Randwick on May 27.
Tommy Berry rejoins last-start winner Just Dreaming in tomorrow’s 1400m Benchmark 73 Handicap against her own age (three-year-olds).
Apprentice Rachel King partnered the Snitzel filly in her tenacious Rosehill success over the same course on June 3 when she carried 57kg; 1kg less than this assignment. King was required for main rival Arbeitsam, prepared by her masters Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
“I probably would have claimed again if Rachel was available, but nonetheless am happy to have Tommy back on the filly again,” Lees said. "He has won on her, and she is strong enough to carry the 58kg. Also, she has done well since the Rosehill win.”
Berry rode Just Dreaming when she won a Class 2 Handicap (1350m) at Wyong on April 27 at her second start this campaign.
Lees’s other Rosehill representative is Raido (Blake Spriggs) in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1100m); the same event in which Upscale also was an acceptor.
Raido has been unplaced at all five starts (though close to the placings) since scoring over 1100m at Canterbury in early January under 59kg. He carried 61kg when fifth to Petrossian in the Winter Dash (1000m) at Tamworth on June 6.
“Raido is never far away, and has a decent weight drop to the limit (53kg) tomorrow,” Lees said. "Obviously it’s a stronger race, but he’s capable of figuring in the finish with the right run.”