City And The Bush This Weekend

Sep 11, 2015

NEWCASTLE: Thursday, September 10, 2012: ROSEHILL and Dubbo are weekend targets for Kris Lees as stable stars Protectionist and Lucia Valentina prepare for further spring assignments next week.

Lees has four acceptors for Saturday’s Rosehill meeting – including three in one race – and also four acceptors at Sunday’s Dubbo Cup fixture.

Newcastle’s leading trainer will renew acquaintances with the “Magic Man” Joao Moreira, who rides Artibai for him in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (1800m), in which he also has Rio Perdido (Christian Reith) and Slivovitz (Sam Clipperton).

But the latter may be reserved for a shot at Sunday’s $50,000 Gold Cup (1600m).

Moreira has previously ridden for Lees and Artibai’s owners, Australian Bloodstock, during previous hit and run trips here from both Singapore and now Hong Kong, where he is currently based.

His last ride for the trainer was on Parraay, who was unplaced in The Championships Provincial Series Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 11.

“Artibai is racing well and his last two placings in town have been excellent efforts,” Lees said this evening.

“I don’t think coming back from 2000m to 1800m will bother him.

“Rio Perdido is getting fitter after three runs from a long layoff and his latest third over 1800m at Hawkesbury was encouraging.”

Lees is keen to back up consistent mare Danish Twist in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1500m) against her own sex.

Apprentice Sam Clenton won on her at the Wyong Cup meeting last Friday, and retains the mount.

“Obviously it’s a tougher assignment than Wyong,” Lees said. “But the mare continues to please me and is going well.

“She deserves her chance at a Saturday race in town.”

Lees has booked accomplished country jockey Kody Nestor for his four representatives at Dubbo’s big day on Sunday.

They are All Day Baby (Class 2 Handicap, 1100m), Valid Contract (Open Handicap, 1100m), Slivovitz (Dubbo Gold Cup, 1600m) and Savanero (Class 3 Handicap, 1600m).

Lees is pleased with how Protectionist and Lucia Valentina have come through their return races at Randwick last Saturday, and has earmarked the pair for the same track next Saturday.

“I was really pleased with how they both performed in the Tramway Stakes (1400m),” Lees said. “Lucia Valentina ran the fastest final 200m and Protectionist made nice ground over a totally unsuitable distance.

“Importantly, they have done well this week.”

Lucia Valentina will contest the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m), whilst Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist will be a dual entry; for that race and also the $200,000 Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m).

“I haven’t made up mind at this stage which race Protectionist will run in,” Lees said.

Lees has paid the first acceptance fees for Lucia Valentina and Protectionist in both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley a week later, keeping his options open as he gauges their progress through the spring.

Import Glorious Sinndar, an impressive Broadmeadow winner in restricted class last Saturday, will be entered for next Friday’s $175,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m).

But at this stage he will be kept for a 2200m Benchmark 70 Handicap at Warwick Farm the following Wednesday.

Another import, Oriental Lady, will definitely represent the stable in the Newcastle feature.

She ran well when sixth (beaten just under one and a half lengths) of 13 in Beyond Thankful’s $150,000 Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2080m) last Friday.

Our Horses