No Risks With Stradbroke Favourite

Jun 02, 2017

NEWCASTLE: Friday, June 2, 2017: KRIS Lees is sensibly adopting a “no risks” policy with Stradbroke favourite Clearly Innocent in the lead-up to his $1.5m assignment at Doomben tomorrow week.

Last Saturday’s brilliant Kingsford-Smith Cup winner will stay at his Gold Coast base until he is floated to Brisbane for the 1350m Group 1 sprint to be run at the new venue, after being transferred from Eagle Farm because of its widely criticised surface.

Lees has ruled out giving Clearly Innocent a gallop at Doomben early next week.

“Being a lighter-framed horse, he is pretty fit and I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on him,” he said this morning.

“I won’t be doing a lot with him. He’ll do a bit on Wednesday morning at the Coast, and that will be it.

“Clearly Innocent came through last Saturday’s race really well and I’m very happy with him.”

A winner of nine of his 15 starts, Clearly Innocent (Hugh Bowman) will carry 57kg topweight in the Stradbroke, with weights to be raised 1.5kg when acceptances are taken on Wednesday morning.

Only 27 horses – including Jungle Edge and Counterattack, who chased him home in the $700,000 Group 1 Kingsford-Smith (1300m) at Eagle Farm - remained in Queensland’s feature sprint when first acceptances were declared two days ago.

With the move to Doomben, the final line-up will be limited to 16.

Clearly Innocent is a firming $3.80 favorite for the Stradbroke, and bookmakers are unlikely to gamble against him as they did last Saturday, even allowing for the fact he will be racing on a tighter circuit than his recent victories at Scone (May 13) and Eagle Farm.

Whilst Lees has taken over the preparation of promising filly Nurse Kitchen, purchased for $1.7m by China Horse Club at the Gold Coast National Broodmare sale earlier in the week, a number of his former “girls” have departed the stable.

Awasita ($200,000), Brook Road ($140,000), Samantha Miss’ younger half-sister Lady Iveagh ($100,000), Riapinka ($90,000), Oh So Assertive ($80,000) and Fashion Sniptz ($50,000) all were sold at the same sale.

Nurse Kitchen, a daughter of Savabeel (who also sired Lees’ now retired quality mare Lucia Valentina), has won two of her only seven starts.

She won the Group 2 Fillies’ Classic (1600m) at Moonee Valley on last October’s Cox Plate program, and was narrowly beaten by Montoya’s Secret in the Group 1 Vinery Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 25 on heavy ground before finishing sixth to impressive Kiwi Bonneval in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 8.

Nurse Kitchen has a real staying pedigree, being out of a daughter of Montjeu (Flying Monty) and has gone into work at Lees’ Broadmeadow base.

He also has taken over the preparation of Gooree Stud-owned Launch Code, a lightly-raced Smart Missile three-year-old, who scored first-up over 1200m at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

The switch arose as Launch Code’s previous trainer James Cummings next month will take up a new role as head trainer of Godolphin’s Australian operation.