Nov 01, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, November 1, 2018: SYDNEY’S spell of hot weather may cost topweights Doukhan and Sense Of Occasion starts at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Kris Lees is in Melbourne for Saturday’s Derby meeting at Flemington, but is keeping a close watch on the weather – with more heat forecast for Friday and Saturday.
Rosehill this afternoon was rated a “Good 4”.
Apprentice Sam Weatherley has been booked for Sense OfOccasion to lessen his 61kg to 59kg in the 1900m Handicap.
However, Lees did not seek a claim for Doukhan in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (2400m) and has booked Glyn Schofield.
“Sense Of Occasion definitely won’t run if the track is too firm,” Lees said.
“And Doukhan is in a similar boat. I would like to find another wet track for him.”
Last year’s Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion has raced only twice – the latest when eighth to Stampede over 1600m at Royal Randwick on October 13 – since two starts at the Melbourne Cup carnival 12 months ago.
Doukhan ran the race of his life first-up at the same meeting when a $101 runner-up to Victorian mudlark Moss ‘N’ Dale in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m).
Lees has also nominated the 10-year-old for a 2800m race at Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup meeting at Flemington.
His other Rosehill acceptors are The Tenor, Chalmers and Star Reflection.
Schofield rides The Tenor (1200m Benchmark 76 Handicap) and Star Reflection (1200m Benchmark 88 Handicap for fillies and mares), and Jason Collett partners Chalmers in the Benchmark 76 Handicap (1200m).
The Tenor is a lightly-raced promising three-year-old, who gained third on protest in the
Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 20.
Only six horses accepted for Saturday’s race, but Rare Episode ran at Gosford today.
“It might be a small field, but it’s a good race,” Lees said. “The Tenor is doing everything right and is certain to be hard to beat.”
Lees has warned punters not to totally overlook Chalmers,who begins a new campaign.
He was a midweek Warwick Farm 1600m winner in June, and hasn’t raced since finishing 10th in the Grafton Guineas (1600m) on July 11.
“Chalmers has drawn awkwardly on Saturday, and may just need this first-up run,” Lees said.
“But he is underrated and I’m sure is set for a successful campaign.”
Star Reflection was withdrawn from a Randwick engagement last Saturday because Lees wasn’t entirely happy with her, but is also now ready to resume.
As with Chalmers, Lees feels Star Reflection will take improvement from the outing and is aware she isn’t likely to get a preferred wet surface. Nonetheless, she is a very genuine mare with five wins and 14 placings from 30 starts.
Lees has four acceptors at his home track on Saturday, where the rail is in the TRUE position.
Andrew Gibbons, riding the crest of a winning wave, partners Kedah, Mimic and Lucky Mission, whilst stable apprentice Louise Day has the mount on Hermosa Reward.
“Kedah, Mimic and Lucky Mission are all in the early stages of new preparations, but have ability and have trialled well,” Lees said.
“Hermosa Reward has been freshened since her unplaced run at Newcastle at the end of September, though she wasn’t too far away that day.
“Her form before that was good.”
Lees has decided to race Lucky Mission in the 1200m Maiden Plate against his own sex, in a nose roll and without a tongue tie.