May 09, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, May 9, 2019: KRIS Lees is confident Gem Song can handle the rise to open company and clinch a Doomben Cup start on Saturday.
The classy three-year-old is a firm favourite for the Listed Members’ Handicap(1600m)at Doomben – the first time he has raced against older horses after nine starts, of which five have produced victories.
And he has come up with the inside alley with the limit weight (54kg).
After an interrupted autumn preparation, Gem Song made his Brisbane debut at Eagle Farm on April 27 and his class shone through.
At set weights, he was clearly too good for his own age in the Gunsynd Classic (1600m) and scored decisively.
Blake Shinn partnered him then, but cannot make the Your Song colt’s weight on Saturday and Lees has booked Brisbane jockey Ron Stewart to take the mount.
He is “warming” the seat, however.
“Blake will be able to ride Gem Song in the Cup,” Lees said this afternoon.
“The horse has trained on strongly at the Gold Coast since his Eagle Farm win.
“He is going really well and I’m confident he will be the one to beat in Saturday’s race and then back up in the Cup.”
As well as Gem Song, Lees could have a number of runners in the Doomben Cup.
“I’m looking at running both Big Duke and Sixties Groove (recent first-up Hawkesbury Cup placegetter) after their good work between races at Newcastle on Tuesday,” he said.
“And Hallelujah Boy is maintaining his Queensland form and deserves his chance also.”
Hallelujah Boy relished the wet conditions when third to Life Less Ordinary in last Saturday’s Group 2 wfaHollindaleStakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast.
Lees also runs Tactical Advantage (Larry Cassidy) in Saturday’s $800,000 Group 1 wfa Doomben 10,000 (1200m).
“I know he is jumping in grade, going to a Group 1 at weight-for-age, but it’s the right time to try him,” he said.
“He ran really well first-up at Hawkesbury with a big weight, was exposed a little early and beaten only narrowly.
“Tactical Advantage is very genuine, and I’m sure he will run well.”
Lees has also nominated the gelding for the $1.5m Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
“The 1400m might be a shade far for him, but his performance on Saturday will give us a good guide whether to seriously consider that race,” he said.
Recent ATC Oaks fourth placegetter Aliferous trialled on the course proper at Newcastle this morning, and is on track to head north for the $500,000 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben on June 1.
Aliferousfinished sixth to Newsfan in a 900m heat (the rail was out 13m) after settling a clear last.
“I was happy with her trial,” Lees said. “She will run at Rosehill on Saturday week and then go to Queensland.”