Kris Lees has given an interesting pointer to Danish Twist’s first-up prospects at Warwick Farm tomorrow. Group 1 placegetter Danish Twist (Glyn Schofield) resumes in the $200,000 Group 2 Breeders’ Classic (1200m) and Lees is confident she will “run super”.
The six-year-old mare can lift her earnings (currently $860,760) close to the $1m mark if she can make a winning return as her trainer readies her for another crack at Group 1 glory. Danish Twist’s target is the $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 17. She ran a splendid third in last year’s renewal to Heavens Above, and Lees is following a similar path with her.
“As with last year, she will go into the Coolmore at her third run back,” Lees said this morning.
“I know it’s a long time since she has won, but she is a lot more relaxed this time in work. I feel she will run super tomorrow from a soft draw in a small field.”
Danish Twist, the 2016 Provincial Championships winner, hasn’t been successful since landing the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick a couple of months later when in a purple patch of form.
She was a close first-up fourth to another Group 1 placed mare In Her Time in last year’s Breeders Classic (run at Royal Randwick) and has trialled twice in preparation for her resumption.
Danish Twist won an 845m heat at Wyong on January 16 and then finished fifth to stablemate Artlee in a 1000m heat at Gosford 15 days later.
Stablemates Artlee and Dal Cielo oppose each other at Warwick Farm in the Benchmark 95 Handicap (1000m) as they both also resume after overcoming setbacks. Artlee, the inaugural 2015 Country Championships winner, will have the benefit of apprentice Jean Van Overmeire’s 3kg claim to lessen his 61kg topweight with Dal Cielo (Schofield).
Artlee, who hasn’t raced since the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June, 2016, is having his first start for Lees and has been impressive at the trials. He was close to resuming late last winter before suffering a severe colic attack, and has won both his recent trials.
Dal Cielo, who hasn’t raced since finishing second to Jungle Edge in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last March, easily won his latest trial over 1000m at Gosford on January 31.
“Dal Cielo won first-up over this course and distance 13 months ago after a short break and has twice from four starts at the trip,” Lees said. “Artlee is the better horse, and is trialling brilliantly. The query is whether they will be a bit too sharp for him at 1000m.”
Lees is making another attempt to win the $250,000 Inglis 2YO Classic (1200m), this time with Sunreel (Schofield). He has previously won the restricted sales race twice with Absolutely Fabulous (2006) and Twist Tops (2016), and has aimed Dundeel filly Sunreel (runner-up at both starts to date) at this target.
Lees put blinkers on Sunreel at Newcastle last Saturday in a concerted effort to earn more prizemoney and ensure she made the Inglis field. He has now replaced them with winkers, and is looking forward to getting her out to the extra distance.
“It’s an open race, but Sunreel is going to appreciate the 1200m,” Lees said. “She has to be a good chance”.