Aug 17, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, August 17, 2017: KRIS Lees says he hasn’t yet got a “firm line” on newcomer Villa Carlotta, who makes her debut for the stable at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The three-year-old filly lines up against her own age and sex in the $200,000 Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m), and Brenton Avdulla will ride her.
Villa Carlotta, originally with James Cummings (now Godolphin’s head Australian trainer), has raced only four times and made a winning debut over 1000m at Randwick in February in a 2YO Maiden.
She subsequently finished third to Frolic and subsequent Golden Slipper winner she Will Reign in heavy conditions there in the Group 2 Reisling Slipper Trial (1200m) on March 4, and was rested after her fourth – also at Randwick on heavy ground – to Melbourne filly Shoals in the Group 2 Percy Sykes (1200m) on April 8 during The Championships.
Lees has given Villa Carlotta two recent 1000m trials in preparation for her resumption.
She ran third in both, to stablemate and first-up Missile Stakes winner Invincible Gem at Newcastle on July 18 and then to another stablemate Princess Posh (placed at Canterbury yesterday) on August 2.
Lees withdrew her from a Canterbury assignment yesterday in favour of the Silver Shadow, which has drawn only five acceptors.
“Despite the small field, it’s a very open race,” Lees said this morning. “Any one of the five fillies can win.
“Villa Carlotta has trialled well enough, but I still haven’t got a firm line on her.
“Many of the now three-year-olds raced on heavy tracks in the autumn, including Villa Carlotta, and it remains to be seen how they come up.
“Saturday will tell us a lot more about her spring prospects.”
Villa Carlotta is Lees’ sole Randwick representative, and he is also looking forward to getting his Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion back there on September 2 in the $250,000 Group 2 wfa Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
Lees is really pleased with the gelding’s progress, and liked his second to Champagne Stakes winner The Mission in a 1200m trial at Newcastle yesterday.
“The Mission got out to a big lead and was never threatened, but I liked the way our horse hit the line,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of options with him after the Chelmsford. If the tracks are wet in Melbourne, we could even go there as he is so good on rain-affected ground.”