Jul 13, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, July 13, 2017: TWO of Kris Lees’ “big guns”, Le Romain and Invincible Gem, will step out at Tuesday’s Newcastle barrier trials.
Lees this afternoon confirmed both will contest 900m heats on the course proper.
Both horses have pleased their trainer since trialling at Wyong yesterday week in separate 845m heats on soft ground.
Le Romain finished fourth in 51.95secs, and Invincible Gem also was fourth in 50.64secs.
Triple Group 1 winner Le Romain is scheduled to resume in the $200,000 Group 2 wfa Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 5, and Lees remains hopeful of securing a berth with him in the $10m The Everest over the same course on October 14.
Invincible Gem made giant strides last campaign by easily winning the Group 3 NJC Spring Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in February before being narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas over the same course the following month.
Her spring target is the $400,000 Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 23.
Lees’ other Group 1 performers Sense Of Occasion and Clearly Innocent also are being readied for spring campaigns.
Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion is back at Lees’ Broadmeadow stables after a well-deserved break, whilst Kingsford-Smith Cup winner Clearly Innocent is at Lees Racing’s Ellalong Farm and will soon return to Newcastle.
As with Le Romain, Lees is keen to secure a spot in The Everest with Clearly Innocent.
Meanwhile, Lees is likely to have three runners at his home track meeting on Saturday.
Labrooke (Andrew Gibbons) gets his chance to break through for an overdue victory in the Class 2 Handicap (1600m).
The Australian Bloodstock-owned four-year-old has been placed at three of his last four starts; the latest when runner-up to Blenders Edition in a similar race at Hawkesbury a week ago.
“He is not far off a win, and this looks a very suitable race for him,” Lees said.
Unraced duo Juventus (Robert Thompson) and Nationality (Gibbons) line up in the 2YO Maiden Handicap (1200m).
Juventus races in the Le Romain colours and is by the same sire (Hard Spun), whilst Nationality trialled three times for now Hong Kong-based Michael Freedman before joining his new stable.
A colt by Commands, he is raced by China Horse Club and is a half-brother to Lees’ former star Samantha Miss.
Nationality has trialled twice recently, finishing second over 800m at Gosford on June 6 and then scoring over the same distance on heavy ground 15 days later.
Lees also accepted with the colt at Hawkesbury on Sunday, but is favouring staying at home with him.
“He has drawn the inside barrier at Newcastle, so at this stage I’m leaning to running him here,” he said.
Calypso Bay (Gibbons) will represent the stable at Hawkesbury’s final meeting of the season.
Coming off a disappointing sixth at Warwick Farm last time out, the four-year-old has 61kg in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1800m).
Prior to his latest run, Calypso Bay was an impressive winner over 1550m on heavy ground at Canterbury three weeks earlier.
“I can’t find an excuse for his last performance, other than he also failed when favorite (at odds-on) at Warwick Farm at his previous campaign after wins at Wyong and Taree,” Lees said.