May 14, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Tuesday, May 14, 2019: KRIS Lees hasn’t lost faith in Gem Song’s Doomben Cup prospects in spite of his defeat as favourite at that track last Saturday.
Having his first start in open company, the classy three-year-old finished third to Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner Archedemus in the Listed Members’ Quality (1600m).
“On face value, Gem Song was probably a touch disappointing,” Lees said this morning.
“But I’m confident he will bounce out of that race really well, and is definitely backing up on Saturday in the Cup.
“We took advantage of his inside draw and rode him close to the lead because they weren’t making ground.
“As a result, he was exposed a little early and still fought on right to the line and was beaten less than a length.”
Blake Shinn, who won the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) on Gem Song at Eagle Farm on April 27, is back on the colt in Saturday’s $700,000 Group 1 wfa Doomben Cup (2000m).
Lees is hoping to have as many as four representatives in the Cup – which he won two years ago with now retired Sense Of Occasion – but fears Hawkesbury Cup placegetter Sixties Groove won’t make the field.
As well as Gem Song, Lees will accept with Big Duke and wet tracker Hallelujah Boy (Matt McGillivray).
“The ground looks as though it will be softer in Brisbane, which will suit Big Duke,” Lees said.
“I’ll accept with Sixties Groove in the Cup and also the Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
“He’ll stay here for Rosehill if he doesn’t get into the Cup field.”
A maximum 16 horses can start in the Doomben Cup, with provision for five emergencies.
Lees also plans to accept with Australian Oaks fourth placegetter Aliferous in both Saturday’s Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben and Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill.
“We’ll have a look at both fields tomorrow and then make a decision which way to head,” he said.
Irrespective of whether Aliferous runs in the traditional lead-up to the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) – also at Doomben on June 1 – he intends running both Grand Bouquet and Itz Lily.
The former is already at his Gold Coast base, having remained there after finishing fifth to another Oaks contender Winning Ways in the Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) on May 4.
Snitzel filly Itz Lily, who has been in great form on provincial and country tracks, will be sent north this week.
Smart mare Pecans, a recent addition to Lees’ stable following her first-up fifth to Irithea in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) at the stand alone meeting on April 27, has been entered for the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
But she is likely to be kept at home for a Royal Randwick assignment on Saturday week.
Lees was pleased with Tactical Advantage’s sixth to The Bostonian in last Saturday’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) last Saturday, and is returning him to his Newcastle base this evening.
“I thought he ran really well,” Lees said. “It was his first start at weight-for-age and he was beaten only 1.75 lengths.
“I like to space his runs. There’s every chance Tactical Advantage won’t run again until the Stradbroke Handicap.”
The $1.5m Group 1 Stradbroke (1400m) will be run under handicap conditions at Eagle Farm on June 8.”