Apr 20, 2015
MONDAY: April 20, 2015: TRAINER Kris Lees is chasing more black type with smart mare Fine Bubbles at Hawkesbury and Scone in coming weeks.
Lees today confirmed Saturday week’s $150,000 Group 3 Darley Crown (1300m) at Hawkesbury’s $1m stand-alone meeting as Fine Bubbles’ immediate target.
And, provided she races up to expectations there, she will continue on to the Scone Cup carnival for the $200,000 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) a fortnight later.
The Dark Jewel – as with the Darley Crown – carries Group 3 status.
Fine Bubbles last spring captured another Group 3, the Tibbie Stakes (1400m), on her home track at Broadmeadow.
And her trainer is delighted with the way she has come up this preparation, hence his decision to target the forthcoming fillies and mares’ features.
Fine Bubbles certainly won’t be out of a place in the Darley Crown and Dark Jewel judged on her splendid last-start effort during The Championships at Randwick.
After being last at one stage, she surged home to finish third to wet track specialist Avoid Lightning in the $300,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on April 11.
“It was a terrific run, and she deserves a shot at races such as the Darley Crown and Dark Jewel,” Lees said.
Meanwhile, Lees has not abandoned plans to give Rustic Melody her chance for a Group 1 triumph before the season ends.
Rustic Melody ran second to Candelara in the Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 6, then backed up five days later and ran fourth to Gust Of Wind in the $1m Australian Oaks (2400m) at the same track.
“She is up at our farm having a break following those two quick runs,” Lees said. “I’ll bring her back and give her another run in Sydney and then make up our mind about the Queensland Oaks.”
With Eagle Farm closed, this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Oaks will be run at Doomben on May 30 and the distance has been shortened from 2400m to 2200m.
Onemorezeta, who finished 10th in the Sapphire, will have one more run before given a spell.
Last spring’s Flemington winner will contest the $140,000 Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m) at the Scone carnival on May 16.
Lucia Valentina is spelling at Ellalong Farm, and will race on next season, whilst Protectionist – cleared of serious injury after his Sydney Cup (3200m) defeat on April 11 - is back at Lees’ Broadmeadow stables after undergoing veterinary tests in Sydney.
He will go to Ellalong to spell as soon as the wet weather clears.
Oriental Lady is Lees’ sole entry for Saturday’s Brisbane winter carnival opener at the Gold Coast, in the $125,000 Chairman’s Handicap (2200m).