Jun 04, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Tuesday, June 4, 2019: TALENTED sprinter Tactical Advantage will still run at Eagle Farm on Saturday – even if he misses out on a Stradbroke Handicap start.
Kris Lees plans to accept with the gelding in both the $1.5m Group 1 Stradbroke (1400m) and Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m), for which he has been given 59.5kg topweight.
Tactical Advantage has 53kg in the Stradbroke and is expected to be first emergency when acceptances are taken in the morning (Brisbane Racing Club can run 18 with provision for five emergencies).
“Obviously, I’d like to give him his chance in another Group 1,” Lees said this afternoon.
“Brenton Avdulla will ride him, but if he doesn’t get a start, he will run in the Hinkler.”
That may be a race of considerably less prizemoney ($125,000) but it is shaping as one of most interesting on the program.
Victorem (57.5kg), the exciting Noble Boy (54kg) and brilliant last start Randwick winner Deprive (54kg) all are likely rivals.
Lees has a definite Stradbroke representative in Princess Posh (52kg), whom Larry Cassidy will ride.
He says the mare has trained on well since her excellent second at $151 to Stradbroke favorite The Bostonian in the Group 1 wfaKingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on May 25.
Princess Posh meets her conqueror 3kg better for being beaten less than a length.
Lees will accept with four three-year-olds – Aliferous, Grand Bouquet, Itz Lily and Fuji Fury – in Saturday’s $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
Aliferous and Grand Bouquet will make the field, but at this stage there is no guarantee the other pair will.
Aliferous (fifth) and Angel Of Heaven (fourth) had no luck in last Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) on the smaller Doomben circuit.
Lees’ decision to spell Redoute’s Choice filly Angel Of Heaven, previously runner-up in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Eagle Farm a week earlier, ensures Grand Bouquet of a start in a likely capacity field of 18.
China Horse Club’s Savabeel filly Grand Bouquet missed out on an Oaks berth, and instead carried 59kg to win over 1800m at the Gold Coast last Saturday, making it two on end at that track over the same distance.
Big Duke (57.5kg) and Sixties Groove (56.5kg) both will back up in the $400,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m), returning to handicap conditions.
Sixties Groove has been placed at all three starts since joining Lees’ team; the latest a strong-finishing second to Doomben Cup winner Kenedna in last Saturday’s wfa O’Shea Stakes (2200m) at Doomben.
Pecans (58kg) will have her second start for the stable in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) against her own sex.
Now raced by Australian Bloodstock and clients, she ran a solid sixth to Renewal in a 1400m Handicap at Randwick on May 25.
Rain in Sydney today has influenced Lees to keep Asharani at home for a Benchmark 76 Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday instead of lining up in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
A further three winners at Armidale today on top of a Cessnock treble yesterday lifted Lees to 214 winners so far this season, and closing in on $13m prizemoney (currently $12,962,351).
Star sprinting mare In Her Time, the fifth horse into the field for the $14m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in October after gaining the Inglis slot late last week, has not yet returned to the stable.
Lees is looking at getting her ready to resume in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) – which has been boosted to $500,000 – at Randwick on September 21.
“That race will determine whether she needs to run again (in the Group 2 1200m Premiere Stakes there on October 5) or goes straight into The Everest,” he said.