Feb 11, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Monday, February 11, 2019: KRIS Lees has congratulated his main provincial and country jockey Andrew Gibbons on clinching his 1000th winner at Tamworth today.
“It’s an excellent milestone,” Lees said after Gibbons, fittingly, had scored on one of his team, $2.40 favourite Peyton Place, who led throughout under 61kg in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m).
“Andrew has really come on in the last few years, and is riding with great confidence,” Lees said this afternoon.
“He always rode one or two horses for us, and the opportunity to ride more regularly for the stable came as Allan Robinson and Dale Spriggs were nearing the end of their careers.
“Full credit to Andrew. He continues to work hard and has earned the results he is getting.”
It has been a breakout year for 40-year-old Gibbons, who has ridden nearly a third of his haul for Lees.
His success on Bedivere at Taree on December 3 last year was his 300th for Lees, and Peyton Place was his 85th winner in just over the first half of the current season, eclipsing his previous best of 79 in 2016-17.
Gibbons didn’t rest on his laurels, scoring again for Lees in the following race on $14 chance Sevini, who upset the $1.65 favoriteHildalgo in the Class 1 Handicap (1000m).
Meanwhile, Lees, who prepared four weekend winners (Clevanicc and Our Gravano at Canterbury last Friday night and Gem Song at Warwick Farm and Raay Of Dreams at Doomben the following day), is looking forward to this weekend’s feature racing at Royal Randwick and Flemington.
With 126 winners already on the board this season, he is on track to better his own record of 192 established last season.
Hugh Bowman will be a new rider for Group 1 winner El Dorado Dreaming, who joins stablemate Miss Fabulass(Kerrin McEvoy) for the pair’s resumption in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Lees is yet to decide which race Invincible Gem contests; either the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) or Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) against her own sex. She has 55kg in the former and 58kg in the latter.
Princess Posh (56.5kg) also will begin a new campaign in the Triscay.
Triple Group 1 winner Le Romain is an entry for the $250,000 Group 2 wfa Apollo Stakes (1400m) – Winx’s return assignment – but merely as a precaution.
His next start almost certainly will be in the $500,000 Group 1 wfa Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday week.
At Flemington, Lees starts both Graff (Tommy Berry) and In Her Time (Corey Brown) in the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m).
“Both horses are in great order,” Lees said. “Graff gained some experience of the Flemington straight in a jumpout last Friday morning and In Her Time will work there in the morning.”