Kris Lees is confident Miss Fabulass ($2 on TAB fixed odds) will emulate her famous mum Samantha Miss by clinching Group 1 glory at Royal Randwick on Saturday. But he isn’t going as far as believing she is “over the line” in the $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) – as he did with her dam.
“I think Miss Fabulass will win, but I thought Samantha Miss was unbeatable in 2008,” Lees said. “She had already won a Group 1 (1600m Champagne Stakes) as a two-year-old and then won all three legs of the Princess Series as an early-three-year-old leading into the Flight, in which she was never threatened and scored easily.”
Samantha Miss, with Hugh Bowman aboard, was a $1.55 favourite in taking that fillies’ feature 10 years ago by two and a half lengths.
Whilst Frankel filly Miss Fabulass (Kerrin McEvoy) won’t start at Samantha Miss odds, she is nonetheless a dominant favourite to follow in her mum’s hoofbeats, and become a Group 1 heroine at only her fifth start.
“Miss Fabulass has trained on really well since winning the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight ago,” Lees said. “She is perfectly drawn going up to the ‘mile’ and I’m sure she will be hard to beat.”
Lees has not committed Miss Fabulass to continuing her current campaign in Melbourne – but hasn’t ruled it out either: “It’s probably more likely that she won’t go to Melbourne, but we’ll see after Saturday,” he said.
Lees might not have representatives in the other Group 1 features (Epsom Handicap and The Metropolitan), but he goes to Randwick with strong prospects in another two black type races.
His “girls” In Her Time (Corey Brown, $7) and Invincible Gem (Brenton Avdulla, $23) will fly the stable flag in the $500,000 Group 2 wfa Premiere Stakes (1200m); the former on target for her main goal, the $13m The Everest over the same course on October 13.
“In Her Time has a terrific first-up record and, like Miss Fabulass, has the advantage of an inside draw in what shapes as a terrific dress rehearsal for The Everest,” he said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with her progress since she joined our stable earlier this month and she is sure to run well. In terms of her coat, I’ve got no doubt she will take improvement from this outing as she heads into The Everest.”
There is nothing wrong with Invincible Gem’s fresh record, either. From four first-up starts, she has won twice and been placed on the two other occasions. Now a five-year-old, she hasn’t raced since finishing seventh (without blinkers) to Prompt Response in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1350m) at Doomben on June 23 and has trialled twice in preparation for her resumption. The blinkers are back on for her return.
“Invincible Gem had a good break after the Brisbane carnival, and will definitely come on after this run,” Lees said. “But she is a mare you can never underestimate, and she goes really well at Randwick, having won twice and missed a place only once in six runs there.”
Lees is enthusiastic about the progress Gem Song ($2.40 fav) is making. He again stamped himself as a colt of real potential by overcoming difficulties under 59.5kg to win over 1300m at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday (his third win from four starts). The Your Song three-year-old lines up a week later in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) with a Group 1 opportunity beckoning a fortnight later in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
“I’ve got no problem at all backing him up,” Lees said. “He is ready for the 1600m now and just needs a bit of luck from the draw (8 in a field of nine). I’m confident he will be hard to beat.”
The stable’s other Randwick acceptor Just Dreaming will be an absentee from the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m). Lees has decided not to run her first-up from a wide draw with a big weight (58.5kg) and will wait for another day.
Lees has three acceptors at his home track meeting on Saturday, but is not certain to start Grand Bouquet in the Class 1 Handicap (1500m). But he will run both Hermosa Reward (Mitchell Bell) and So You Merge (Darryl McLellan) in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1865m).
Hermosa Reward was doing her best when a closing 1600m third at Wyong last Sunday, whilst So You Merge is fitter for a first-up seventh (under 59kg) in a 1500m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Tuncurry on September 7.
It is worth remembering she ran second (albeit beaten clearly) to subsequent Group 1 Queensland Oaks winner and now Caulfield Cup hope Youngstar in a Benchmark 68 (1885m) at Newcastle on April 28, conceding the winner 1kg.