Jan 16, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Tuesday, January 16, 2018: VICTORIA Derby winner Prized Icon will make his debut for new trainer Kris Lees at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week.
Lees announced the $150,000 Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) as the comeback race for the now four-year-old after he trialled at Wyong this morning.
With Glyn Schofield aboard, Prized Icon ran a close second to Manhattan Mist in a 1000m Open trial run in 59.86secs (last 600m in 34.51s).
“That was his second trial and he’s done plenty of work for his resumption,” Lees said. “I’m looking forward to getting him to the races.”
Schofield has been Prized Icon’s regular rider, and has won two Group 1s on the stallion (the 2016 1600m Champagne Stakes at Royal Randwick and later that year the 2500m Victoria Derby at Flemington).
He was then prepared at Randwick by James Cummings, who has since taken over as Godolphin’s head Australian trainer.
Prized Icon has not raced since failing to handle the heavy conditions (as with many horses) when 11th to Order Again in the Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Eagle Farm on May 27 last year (the track was shut down afterwards for further work and is still out of action).
Prized Icon’s stablemates Admiral Jello (5th) and Sense OfOccasion (6th) also contested the same trial.
Last year’s Newcastle Cup placegetter Admiral Jello is also ready to return to the races, whilst Sense Of Occasion will most likely trial again at Gosford on January 31.
Whilst Lees is pleased with Prized Icon’s progress, he could not hide his delight with the trial performance of another of his acquisitions, Artlee.
Ridden by Aaron Bullock, Artlee was most impressive in winning his 800m heat in 49.75secs (last 600m in 34.14s).
“He’s a very good horse,” Lees said of Artlee. “He’ll go back to the trials again at Gosford in a fortnight.”
Artlee, the inaugural 2015 Country Championships winner at Randwick when prepared at Muswellbrook, joined Lees’ team last year but was struck by a bout of colic when close to resuming after showing brilliant trial form.
Now a seven-year-old, Artlee has raced only 16 times for six wins and four placings.
Lees’ Group 1 winner Clearly Innocent also contested the same trial, and finished last of seven runners – but has shown in the past that he reserves his best for raceday.
“I’m not sure whether I will trial him again, but he will resume in the Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick on February 17,” Lees said of his Doncaster Mile candidate.
The 1200m Group 3 Southern Cross (with a 61kg maximum) is the same race Lees won first-up last year with another of his Group 1 performers, Le Romain.
Danish Twist (Schofield) signalled a pending return with an 845m trial success, and also will trial again in a fortnight before resuming.
Lees is hoping to get the mare to the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 17; in which she was placed last year at big odds.
“It’s a long time since she has won, but she has done a terrific job so far for her owners,” he said. “She appears to have come back well.”
On a busy trial morning, Lees also was pleased with comeback sprinter Dal Cielo (Schofield), who ran fifth to stablemate Bold Chance (Mathew Scorse) in another 845m heat in 51.53secs (last 600m in 34.42s).
The former New Zealand and Melbourne sprinter won 1000m races at Randwick and Warwick Farm last year, and hasn’t raced since finishing second to renowned wet tracker Jungle Edge in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) on a heavy Rosehill surface on March 25 last year.
Dal Cielo will trial again at Gosford – where he contested the 1200m Guineas in 2016 when prepared in Melbourne – in a fortnight.