Feb 22, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, February 22, 2018: KRIS Lees says he “can’t fault” Singing ahead of the rejuvenated stayer’s bid to extend his winning sequence to four at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Singing has been well backed since TAB markets opened yesterday and has firmed from $4.60 to $3 favourite for the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m).
Glyn Schofield, who partnered the eight-year-old stallion in his Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) success on January 14 – and was suitably impressed – again has the mount.
The former French horse’s injury-plagued career finally took a turn for the better when he broke through for his first Australian success in a Class 6 Plate (2000m) at Doomben on December 9 last.
He repeated that at the same track three weeks later in a 2200m Quality before clinching a hat-trick a fortnight later back on home soil in the Gosford Cup.
Despite being taken on in front, he pulled away in the closing stages to score by three lengths from the previous year’s Gosford Cup winner Red Excitement.
Lees gave Singing a few days R & R at his Ellalong Farm property in the Lower Hunter after the Gosford race, keen to give him a belated opportunity in feature races during the autumn.
“He’s in really good order; I can’t fault him,” Lees said this afternoon.
“I haven’t seen anything in his trackwork to indicate he isn’t maintaining his form.
“It will be six weeks between runs and I wouldn’t want the race to be any shorter than 1900m, but I’m sure he will run well.”
Singing’s performance will provide Lees with a clearer picture as to which course to take as the big autumn races draw closer.
He has been entered for the $1.5m Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10, and there is also the $700,000 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes over the same distance at Rosehill a fortnight later.
“I’ve got an open mind at present; we’ll see what happens at the weekend,” he said.
Lees also runs Admiral Jello (apprentice Jean Van Overmeire) in the Parramatta Cup, and is pleased with the gelding’s progress since his first-up sixth to Cellarman in a Benchmark 90 Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill on February 3.
He drops from 59kg to 53kg and, though he has never won second-up, has been placed at all three runs.
“Admiral Jello will run well and this race should top him off nicely,” Lees said. “But Singing is definitely my preference.”
Lees has listed his other Rosehill acceptor, Guard Of Honour, as an unlikely starter in the Benchmark 95 Handicap (1100m) from his outside draw.
Lees is sending Slow Pace and All Summer Long to Queensland tonight, banking on forecast wet weather for Doomben assignments on Saturday.
Damian Browne rides topweight Slow Pace (59kg) in the Benchmark 90 Handicap (2040m), and Jeff Lloyd has been booked for another topweight All Summer Long (58.5kg) in the Class 6 Handicap (1640m).
Doomben was rated a “Soft 5” this afternoon, and obviously will worsen if the expected rain arrives.
“Slow Pace could not have beaten my other two (Singing and Admiral Jello) at Rosehill, and the Brisbane race looked suitable with the conditions,” Lees said.
“Whilst he has been unplaced in both runs this time, he can improve sharply on wet ground.”
Five of Slow Pace’s six wins have been on soft or heavy tracks, including the 2016 2100m Wyong Cup (Heavy 10) and last year’s 2000m Anzac Cup at Randwick on a Soft 7.
The 10-year-old veteran has history against him nonetheless, as only three horses of that age have won in Brisbane in the last six decades.
All Summer Long regained winning form over 1500m at Newcastle on February 11, and has trained on well.
“He appreciated some give in the track here last time, and has wet track form,” Lees said. “I don’t know how he would go if it became a bog, however.”
Lees’ success with unbeaten Pierro three-year-old Furore – his sole runner at Gosford today – was his 93rd of the current season.