Apr 23, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Friday, April 24, 2015: AN improved showing is anticipated from Oriental Lady at tomorrow’s Queensland winter carnival opener at the Gold Coast.
The imported mare is trainer Kris Lees’ sole representative at the meeting – in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2200m).
Michael Cahill retains the mount, having ridden her at Doomben a fortnight ago when she started $2.60 favorite and finished fourth to Perplexity (a rival again) in a Benchmark 95 Handicap (2200m).
Lees last night admitted he was a “little disappointed” with Oriental Lady’s performance – though beaten only one and a half lengths – and is prepared to overlook that defeat.
“She raced too fiercely at Doomben, and didn’t finish off,” Lees said.
“I’ve taken the blinkers off her. It’s a stronger race, but I feel she will go better this time.”
Oriental Lady was runner-up in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) in January, and Lees is trying to earn more black type with the mare.
He kept her at the Gold Coast after the Doomben essay rather than return her to his Newcastle base. Her performance tomorrow will determine whether she stays on for further winter carnival targets or returns home.
Meanwhile, Lees has two runners at tomorrow’s annual Anzac Day meeting at Gosford.
He will start Alpen Rose (Andrew Gibbons) in the Lone Pine Maiden Handicap (1000m) and Pinball Lass (apprentice James Innes Jnr) in the Anzac Remembrance Benchmark 60 Handicap (1200m).
Alpen Rose was runner-up to Nip Of Time in a 1000m Maiden Plate at Wyong on April 9 after winning a barrier trial at that track on March 25.
The lightly-raced Swiss Ace filly has only seven rivals tomorrow.
“She has trained on well since the Wyong race and should be hard to beat,” Lees said.
“Pinball Lass is a bit limited, but has to be a chance in a race such as this, especially with 3kg off her back.”
Pinball Lass, who scored over 1800m at the Gold Coast when previously in work, has raced once since resuming.
She finished ninth to stablemate Powerline in the final qualifying heat of the inaugural The Championships Provincial Series over tomorrow’s course, on April 2.
Tomorrow’s assignment does not look as formidable a task as that Class 5 was.