Jan 16, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Friday, January 16, 2015: ONCE bitten, twice shy!
Trainer Kris Lees did not consider utilising an apprentice's claim to lessen his filly Felines' 60kg burden at Randwick tomorrow.
Hugh Bowman will ride Felines for the first time as she attempts to make it two wins on the bounce in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m).
"She can do a few things wrong; I didn't even think about claiming on her," Lees said today.
"We went down that path once before and it cost us a win."
Lees was referring to a two-year-old race over 1250m at Canterbury last winter when she veered to the outside in the straight when an odds-on favorite and was narrowly beaten. Her conqueror that day was subsequent Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win.
Felines has raced eight times for three wins and four seconds. Her only "flop" was when she finished fifth to Dupe'Em over 1100m at Randwick on December 13.
Lees has gained stewards' approval to remove a near side bubble cheeker from the filly's gear tomorrow.
"It has helped her from hanging out, but we've got an experienced rider on her tomorrow from a good gate," he said.
"If she's going to beat her own age with this weight, then this is her chance.
"She has trained on well since scoring at Warwick Farm earlier in the month."
Lees has four acceptors at the Randwick meeting - but is likely to have a very light representation, with possibly Felines his sole runner.
Ay No Digas, who was to have resumed in the Benchmark 74 Handicap (1600m), drew poorly in the big field and definitely won't run. He will be reserved for a race at Canterbury on Australia Day.
Hinchinbrook filly Moment Of Music (2YO Plate, 1100m) also may be kept for a Scone engagement (2YO Country Plate, 1100m) on Friday.
Moment Of Music has raced only twice. She was runner-up on debut and then scored at Scone on November 24 before being freshened.
Electric Power, unbeaten at two starts this preparation, is not a certain starter either in tomorrow's Benchmark 80 Handicap (1400m).
Lees withdrew her from Canterbury last Wednesday because of an awkward barrier.
"I have nominated her for Warwick Farm on Wednesday," Lees said. "That might be the more suitable race."
Meanwhile, Lees has announced the retirement of his talented but injury-plagued stayer Hathras.
The import was the subject of a stewards' inquiry when he tailed off at his resumption at Canterbury last Wednesday. as a well-fancied $5 second favorite.
"We've done further tests on him, but nothing showed up," Lees said.
"We'll never really know why he raced so poorly at Canterbury, but myself and the connections feel it's best to retire him."