Jan 23, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Friday, January 23, 2015: TRAINER Kris Lees is banking on a "third-up theory" earning Oriental Lady black type success at Randwick tomorrow. And he will be on course to hopefully cheer home the mare before heading to Mascot airport to catch a flight to New Zealand for the Karaka yearling sales.
Oriental Lady (Brenton Avdulla) will be having her third start this campaign when she contests the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m).
"She was third-up last time when she bolted in at home," Lees said today, referring to a seven and a half-lengths' demolition of four rivals at Broadmeadow over 2300m last June in restricted class.
"Obviously, her opposition wasn't strong that day, but she did it easily in very windy conditions.
"That's why we have aimed her at this race at her third run back."
Oriental Lady's Newcastle romp last June was the start of a hat-trick of victories - the remaining two coming in town - for the former German mare. And she has returned in great order, her two runs so far lending weight to her trainer's belief that she will be hard to beat tomorrow.
Oriental Lady was beaten only two and a half lengths when resuming over an unsuitable 1550m at Canterbury late last month, then hit the line strongly after being pushed wide on the home turn when runner-up to Midsummer Sun in the Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) on January 9.
"If she could have got a drag into the race at Gosford, I'm sure she would have made it interesting with the winner," Lees said.
"She has trained on well since and has drawn nicely tomorrow."
In terms of barriers, the same can't be saId for his other Randwick acceptors, Marple Miss and Terra Amata.
Marple Miss (Avdulla) drew seven out of eight in the 3YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m), and Terra Amata (Avdulla) came up with the outside alley in an eight-horse field in the Benchmark 90 Handicap (1000m).
In fact, there is every possibility Lees will reserve her for a Benchmark 75 Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on Monday, where stable apprentice Samantha Clenton will be able to use her 3kg entitlement.
"I'll wait until the morning to see if there are any scratchings from Randwick, but the Canterbury race looks the more suitable, especially from an inside draw," he said.
"I gave her a week at the farm after her last run at Canterbury earlier in the month, but this will probably be her last race before going for a break.
"She has done a good job this preparation."
Marple Miss will line up against her own age following a dominant second-up victory over 1350m at Wyong on January 2.
"Obviously, tomorrow's race is much tougher against the boys, but I'm pleased with how she is progressing."
Marple Miss, from the same dam (Sunset Express) as 2013 Cox Plate winner Shamus Award, has raced only five times for two wins.
Aside from Terra Amata, Ay No Digas also will represent the stable at Monday's public holiday meeting at Canterbury. He resumes in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1550m), with Hugh Bowman his rider.
"I scratched him last Saturday because of a poor draw, and he hasn't fared any better at Canterbury," Lees said.
"But he will run, although I'm expecting he will be better for the outing."