Sep 07, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, September 7, 2017: KRIS Lees is confident Group 1 placegetter Danish Twist isn’t far off regaining winning form – and it could be at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Lees will rely on Danish Twist (Glyn Schofield) in the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m), opting to miss the race with stablemate Zestful (Josh Parr), who drew awkwardly.
Danish Twist hasn’t been successful since winning the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick 15 months ago, and has been sidelined since finishing down the track (albeit no luck in the straight) in Tycoon Tara’s Group 1 Tatts Tiara (1350m) at Doomben on June 24.
But a recent eye-catching barrier trial performance has Lees convinced his six-year-old still has winning days ahead of her.
Danish Twist hit the line strongly when third in an 800m trial at Gosford on August 25, and has trained on strongly since.
“I’m very happy with her going into her first-up at the weekend,” Lees sad this afternoon.
“She is drawn nicely, and I’m expecting her to run really well.”
Danish Twist, the 2016 Provincial Championships winner, has been a great performer for the stable. Her 28 starts have yielded eight wins and as many placings for prizemoney of more than $830,000.
She ran the race of her life when a close third to Heavens Above in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens in March.
Lees is so encouraged by his mare’s progress this time in work that he is even contemplating another shot at the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup carnival (November 4) with Danish Twist.
“Everyone says she can’t run a mile (1600m), but she should have been right in the finish of last year’s Myer,” Lees said.
International ace Joao Moreira rode Danish Twist then and had absolutely no luck on her in the straight. She finished ninth, beaten only one and a half lengths, to I Am A Star.
Lees’ other Rosehill representative on Saturday is former New Zealander Karavali. Hugh Bowman rides her in the Benchmark 76 Handicap (1500m).
Karavali was runner-up at her first three starts (including two in town) for Lees before being rested.
She resumed with a breakthrough Class 2 (1350m) victory against her own sex, under 59kg, on the Beaumont track on August 26.
“The query is whether she can still show enough sprint second-up with 60.5kg,” Lees said.
“She’ll run at least 2000m this preparation, and has done well since her first-up win.”
In that victory, Karavali beat Canberra, who confirmed the form with a Warwick Farm success yesterday.
Lees has given his apprentice Louise Day the chance to clinch her most important success, in tomorrow’s $30,000 Tuncurry Forster Gold Cup (2100m).
He has booked Day for last year’s Taree Cup winner and topweight Olympic Academy, lessening his 64kg impost by 3kg.
Olympic Academy hasn’t been placed in four runs since resuming, the latest when ninth to Pirate Ben in this year’s renewal of the 2000m Taree Cup, run on August 20.
“If he is anywhere near his old form, he is good enough to beat them with 61kg,” Lees said.
Sarajevo will represent the stable at Doomben tomorrow in the Class 3 Plate (1200m).
The former Godolphin sprinter has remained at the Gold Coast since resuming and finishing sixth in a similar race there over 1100m on August 26.
“He doesn’t win out of turn, but has drawn the rails on Saturday and can definitely improve,” Lees said.