Apr 07, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Tuesday, April 7, 2015: UNDERRATED filly Rustic Melody will be given her chance at Group 1 glory at Randwick on Saturday.Buoyed by her excellent second in yesterday's Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at the same track, trainer Kris Lees has decided to back her up in the $1m ATC Oaks (2400m).
Brenton Avdulla, who rode Rustic Melody yesterday, retains the Oaks mount.
Rustic Melody chased hard in the straight in the Adrian Knox and kept coming to the line even though she wasn't able to overhaul all-the-way winner Candelara.
It continued her consistent form this preparation, and she certainly deserves her spot in the Oaks line-up.
Lees will have a big team competing on Day 2 of The Championships, including Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist in the $1.6m Sydney Cup (3200m) and Lucia Valentina in the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Craig Williams continues his autumn association with Protectionist, whilst Hugh Bowman rides Lucia Valentina in the Queen Elizabeth.
Lees has all but finalised his jockeys for a remarkable representation of six in the inaugural $300,000 The Championships Provincial Series Final.
He managed to qualify at least one horse in each of the five provincial qualifiers - and won two of them - for the 1400m final.
Hugh Bowman rides Selectify, Tommy Berry is on Newcastle winner Magic Of Dreams, Ryan Moore is on last Thursday's Gosford winner Powerline, Joao Moreira rides Parraay and Brenton Avdulla has the mount on Jimmy Says Yes.
Electric Power is the only Lees' representative for which the trainer is yet to confirm a rider.
Lees has also decided to start former New Zealand mare Hera in the $1m Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) on Saturday. The Queen of the Turf will be run under weight-for-age conditions.
He has also opted to run last Thursday's Gosford Guineas placegetter Onemorezeta in the $300,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) against her own sex rather than the $500,000 Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint over the same course against the "boys".
Fine Bubbles also runs in the Sapphire, with Zac Purton her rider.