May 18, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, May 18, 2017: SENSE Of Occasion’s outside barrier may not be the disadvantage it first appeared in Saturday’s $650,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
Kris Lees’ initial disappointment with the rejuvenated six-year-old’s draw (he will start from 16 in the capacity field) has been tempered by Brisbane’s impending wet weather.
Sense Of Occasion’s form is good enough to warrant him an excellent chance of snaring a Group 1 success in the weight-for-age contest, but the accomplished wet tracker’s prospects will be further enhanced if the expected rain – and plenty of it – arrives as forecast.
“I was a little disappointed at first when the barrier draw was announced, but there’s nothing you can do it about it,” Lees said this afternoon.
“There’s no point worrying and, with the wet weather forecast for Brisbane, the outside barrier might not be a problem at all.
“Sense Of Occasion will go back anyway and, when it’s wet at Doomben, I’ve seen them swoop home down the outside.”
Doomben this afternoon was rated a “Soft 5”, and the rail is 2.5 metres out for the entire circuit.
Sense Of Occasion (Corey Brown) ran “out of his skin” when third in both the $3m Doncaster Mile and $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 1 and 8 respectively during The Championships.
He then was luckless when sixth to Doomben Cup rival It’s Somewhat in the Group 2 wfa Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 6. After being badly held up on straightening, he got clear late and finished off strongly.
Sense Of Occasion has remained at the Coast since, and Lees made an overnight trip earlier in the week to watch him have his final serious gallop there on Tuesday morning.
“He worked well, and is in good order,” Lees said. “Group 1s are never easy to win, especially with a maximum field, but I’m sure he is going to run another mighty race.”
Lees had four acceptors for the Doomben program, but at least one of them – Guard Of Honour – won’t run.
Because of the forecast, Lees has opted not to send him north. Instead, he will line up at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday provided that track isn’t badly rain-affected either.
Brook Road (Hugh Bowman) and Savoureux (Damian Browne) are scheduled to contest the Listed Bright Shadow Quality (1200m) against their own sex.
“It’s a suitable race for both of them, but I won’t start Savoureux if the track becomes heavy,” Lees said.
Lees has decided to remove winkers from Brook Road’s gear and replace them with blinkers.
The six-year-old mare resumed when eighth (beaten just under two lengths) to stablemate Felines in the Hawkesbury Rush (1100m) on April 29.
Brook Road scored over the Bright Shadow course in November, 2014 in a similar $100,000 Listed race. Her last win was on heavy ground at Canterbury over 1100m in July, 2015, though she was placed in Group 2 company at Randwick last year during The Championships.