Oct 05, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Friday, October 5, 2018: KRIS Lees is confident Frankely Awesome will be “very competitive” when she attempts to clinch a remarkable Group 1 victory at only her third start at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
The beautifully-bred three-year-old by unbeaten European champion Frankel can become only the second filly (Yankee Rose scored in 2016) to win the $500,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) since its inception in 1971.
It would be an outstanding training triumph if Lees can win this Group 1 with a rookie coming off only two races – winning both; a 1300m Maiden at Newcastle on September 4 against her own sex and then a 1600m Class 2 Showcase Handicap at Scone 17 days later.
And he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I was going to step Frankely Awesome up to 2000m anyway after her Scone win, and this is the right time to test her in a race such as the Spring Champion,” he said this morning.
“I’m not concerned about her handling the distance, and her pedigree suggests she will manage heavy conditions if in all likelihood it gets to that.
“The track was soft when she won on debut at home, and she was strong at the end when she beat older horses at Scone.
“I’m sure she has the class, and am confident she will be very competitive.”
Lees considers Frankely Awesome has Oaks potential, but isn’t yet committing her to the 2500m VRC Oaks at Flemington on November 8.
Her Spring Champion performance will give him a clearer guide as to whether he proceeds that way, or waits until the 2400m AJC Oaks at Randwick in the autumn.
Lees ran Samantha Miss (runner-up to Sebring before turning the tables in the 1600m Champagne Stakes) in the 2008 Group 1 1400m Sires Produce Stakes at Randwick at only her fourth start, whilst her daughter Miss Fabulass was having only her fifth start when favorite and a close fourth in last Saturday’s Group 1 Flight Stakes at the same track.
He also recalled taking Rustic Melody from a convincing Class 1/Maiden Plate (1600m) victory at Scone in 2015 to the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick, when she finished second to Candalara.
Corey Brown rode Frankely Awesome in her impressive Newcastle debut, and partners her again tomorrow.
Whilst the filly’s Group 1 assignment is Lees’ main Randwick focus, he also has excellent prospects with his two other representatives – Princess Posh and Just Dreaming.
Princess Posh was an acceptor for three races over two States, but Lees has opted for the Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m), with Tommy Berry her rider.
He has withdrawn her from the 1400m Handicap at Randwick and Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington, where she had drawn poorly.
Princess Posh won the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) on her home track on September 14 before a solid third to Shumookhand Champagne Cuddles in the Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens eight days later.
“She finished the Golden Pendant off strongly and deserves a chance to win another Group 3 whilst she is in such good form,” Lees said.
Just Dreaming (Jason Collett) will resume in the 1400m Handicap – from which Princess Posh and Data Point are absentees – irrespective of the conditions.
“She will run, but obviously there will be some concern at 1400m first-up if the track becomes heavy, even though she has won in those conditions,” Lees said.
“Just Dreaming has been placed first-up previously, but has a much better second-up record.
“Still, she has done plenty of work, has some residual fitness from a couple of Brisbane runs during the winter and has had the benefit of two recent trials.”
Just Dreaming last raced when 12th as a $41 chance to Prompt Response in the Group 2 Tatt’s Tiara (1350m) at Doomben on June 23.