Jul 06, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, July 6, 2017: A fitter Launch Code is ready to make his debut for new trainer Kris Lees at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
The promising young sprinter returns to the scene of his breakthrough victory when he contests the 3YO Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m).
A member of the Gooree Stud string, Launch Code was previously with James Cummings, who has taken over the reins as Godolphin’s head Australian trainer and will have his first runners for them at the meeting.
But not in Launch Code’s race.
The Smart Missile gelding arrived at Lees’ Broadmeadow stables on the night he won a 3YO Maiden Plate (1200m) at Warwick Farm on May 31 when having only his third start and his first since late January.
Lees is enjoying a brief family break during the school holidays, but will be back in time for Saturday’s meeting.
“Kris has taken his time with Launch Code,” stable representative Cameren Swan said this afternoon.
“He gave him time to get over that first-up run, and since has been able to give him some good gallops.
“He is ready to go back to the races, and is fitter as a result of his recent work.
“Launch Code is drawn to get a nice run, and we’re expecting him to go well.”
Glyn Schofield rode Launch Code at his final start for Cummings, and partners him again.
The three-year-old won a Randwick 740m trial on May 19 and his former trainer subsequently took blinkers off him when he resumed successfully 12 days later.
Schofield rode Lees’ first winner for Gooree; two-year-old Banner Season (also minus blinkers), who beat older horses in a 1600m Maiden at Gosford on June 16.
Lees has four Farm acceptors, but another Schofield booking, recent Newcastle winner Time Out Of Mind, will be an absentee because of his outside barrier in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1300m).
Kool Vinnie, who carries the Invincible Gem colours, comes to town with excellent country and provincial form.
Brenton Avdulla rides him in the 3YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m).
Kool Vinnie won successive races at Taree on June 2 (1250m) and 15 (1400m) before a luckless second to Helensburgh Ham in a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1350m) at Wyong on June 29.
Stewards reported the three-year-old began awkwardly, causing his apprentice rider to become unbalanced and as a result the horse lost ground.
“Kool Vinnie was responsible for a terrific performance at Wyong,” Swan said.
“He gave away a huge start and did a tremendous job to get as close as he did.
“He deserves his chance in town, but has to overcome the outside barrier (11).”
Lees’ other runner is Olympic Academy, who resumes in the Benchmark 93 Handicap (1600m).
Apprentice Rachel King’s 1.5kg claim lessens the six-year-old’s weight to 54.5kig.
Olympic Academy hasn’t raced since finishing seventh in the Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) on March 5, and has been given two trials leading up to his resumption.
“Olympic Academy hasn’t won first-up before, but is always thereabouts and the small field (seven runners) suits him,” Swan said.