Sandown Next When Flemington Winds Up

Nov 08, 2018

NEWCASTLE: Thursday, November 8, 2018: KRIS Lees’ Melbourne spring campaign will extend beyond Saturday’s final day of the Cup carnival at Flemington.

Whilst Clearly Innocent isn’t 100 per cent and won’t run at Sandown on Saturday week, Lees still is likely to have two runners there.

“At this stage Guard Of Honour will run and I might also start Doukhan,” Lees said this afternoon.

Both horses have already raced in Melbourne this carnival. Guard Of Honour finished fifth to Ashlor (beaten less than two lengths) in the 955m Handicap at the Cox Plate meeting at Moonee Valley on October 27.

Doukhan was sent to Melbourne last Sunday night and finished sixth to import Shraaooh in the Benchmark 96 Handicap (2800m) at Flemington’s Cup meeting on Tuesday.

His Sandown target will be the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), whilst Guard Of Honour’s assignment is the Doveton Stakes (1000m).

Meanwhile, Lees will have at least two starters at his home meeting at Newcastle on Saturday.

He has accepted with both first-up Hawkesbury winner Wild Kingdom and Grand Bouquet (Andrew Gibbons) in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m).

He was undecided late this afternoon whether Wild Kingdom would take his place in the field, having drawn the outside of the 12-horse field.

Grand Bouquet is the opposite. She has drawn the inside alley and will definitely run.

Lees has freshened the Savabeel filly since she finished 13th to subsequent Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes runner-up Aramayoin the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 14.

She had won a Hawkesbury Maiden (1300m) before that on August 13, finishing with plenty of purpose from 13th at the 400m.

“That was a really good performance,” Lees said. “Grand Bouquet has had a trial at Wyong on October 22, and should get every chance from such a good draw on Saturday.”

Lees also runs another lightly-raced three-year-old Silver Melody (Gibbons) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m).

The All Too Hard filly made an impressive debut on her home track on July 7, taking on some older horses and beating them in a 900m Maiden Plate.

Lees immediately gave her a break, and trialled her at Newcastle on October 9 when third to stablemate Kedah (an easy first-up winner at home last Saturday).

“Silver Melody is in good order, and should run well,” Lees said. “But she is going to handle longer distances than Saturday’s 900m.”