Jul 28, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Friday, July 28, 2017: THE near certainty of a firmer surface has Kris Lees forecasting Reach For Heaven can make his presence felt at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
Foiled by rain when a beaten favorite at Canterbury at his last start, Reach For Heaven has the services of premiership front-runner Hugh Bowman in the 3YO Handicap (1400m).
A lightly-raced son of Savabeel who has always shown promise, Reach For Heaven made an impressive return when an easy winner of a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m) under 59.5kg on his home track on July 1.
He then let his supporters down when fourth, as a $2.90 favorite, to Awoke in a Benchmark 67 Handicap (1250,) at Canterbury against his own age 11 days later.
He was never in contention, but did his best work over the closing stages, coming from last on the turn and winding up nicely.
Lees, understandably, is prepared to overlook the Canterbury run to give him a great chance of returning to the winning list tomorrow.
“It rained heavily prior to the Canterbury race, and he was never comfortable from the outset,” he said this morning.
“He has trained on well, and with the inside barrier tomorrow, this looks to set up nicely for him. I’m sure the 1400m will suit him.”
Rosehill this morning was rated a “Good 4”, and fine weather is forecast tomorrow.
Lees has two acceptors in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (1500m) for fillies and mares – Rustic Melody (Bowman) and Wahng Wah (Adam Hyeronimus) - but will rely on the latter.
Last-start winner Rustic Melody, a Bowman mount, won’t be running.
“She has had a slight setback, so we will wait for another day with her,” Lees said.
“Wahng Wah gets back in her races, but I have no doubt she is looking for the 1500m.
“It’s a very open race. She is a chance if she can get the right run.”
Former New Zealander Parker’s Piece, another Bowman ride, makes her debut for the stable in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).
The mare has won three of her 16 starts (and was placed in another five) at home, and hasn’t raced since finishing third in a 1200m Benchmark 75 Handicap at Te Rapa on February 4.
Lees has given her two barrier trials; the latest when fourth (beaten nearly seven lengths) to stablemate and triple Group 1 winner Le Romain over 1000m on the Beaumont track on July 18.
“Parker’s Piece’s trials have been a little inconsistent,” he said. “But she has won first-up previously, races up on the speed, and would have to be a chance on her New Zealand form.”
Lees’ other Rosehill representative is Let’s Get Nauti Gal (apprentice Rachel King) in the 2YO Handicap (1500m).
The filly resumed when third over 1200m on her home track on June 22 when she didn’t have clear running in the straight, then broke through for her first victory over the same distance at Tamworth on July 10.
“Obviously, this is a decent rise in class to a metropolitan Saturday meeting,” Lees said.
“But she has a handy weight (52kg) after Rachel’s claim, and keeps improving. She could cause a surprise.”