Jun 06, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, June 6, 2019:KRIS Lees can see some similarities with Queensland Derby hopeful Aliferous to his 2005 placegetter Vitesse Dane.
Aliferous (Brenton Avdulla) and stablemate Grand Bouquet (Matt McGillivray) will line up in the $600,000 Group 1 Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Vitesse Dane won the Queensland Oaks (2400m) and backed up a week later against the “boys” when favourite and third to Lachlan River in the classic.
Aliferous, the Adrian Knox Stakes winner at Royal Randwick in April before finishing fourth to VerryElleegant in the ATC Oaks (2400m), finished a luckless fifth to Winning Ways in the last Saturday’s Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben.
“I’ve got no doubt she would have been right in the finish of the Oaks if it had been run at Eagle Farm instead,” Lees said this afternoon.
“I can see some similarities to Vitesse Dane. Both fillies came from relative obscurity and kept improving.
“Aliferous is a tough filly who has done well since the Oaks, and I have no problem about backing her up.
“She has drawn a bad gate unfortunatelyin the Derby, and we’ll have to go back.
“With a decent run, I’m sure she will be strong at the finish on the bigger track.
“Grand Bouquet has won her last two at the Gold Coast and should settle around midfield.”
Only three fillies have won the Derby in the last two decades; Camarena (1999), Riva San (2008) and Dariana (2010).
Lees runs $26 chance Princess Posh (Larry Cassidy) in the $1.5m Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), and is still clinging to hope first emergency Tactical Advantage ($23) will secure a start.
Brenton Avdulla will switch from Deploy to ride him if he sneaks into the field.
“Princess Posh is not the roughest by any means, especially from an inside draw,” Lees said.
“The same applies to Tactical Advantage if he gets a start. He is fresh and also has drawn nicely.”
Tactical Advantage will definitely start in the Lister Hinkler Handicap (1200m) if he misses the Stradbroke.
“He is poorly drawn with 59.5kg topweight, and we’ll ride him quiet and save him for hopefully a big finish,” Lees said.
Blinkers are coming off Big Duke (John Allen), who joins stablemate Sixties Groove (Damien Oliver) in the $400,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
“I put them on him at Doomben last week, but they didn’t make any difference,” Lees explained.
“Sixties Groove has run great at all three starts for us, and will run well again if we can get a decent run from a poor draw.
“The 2400m at Eagle Farm should really suit him.”
Lees’ other Brisbane representative is Pecans (Corey Brown) in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m).
“I thought she ran a solid race at Randwick a fortnight ago at her first start since joining our stable, and has come up with the inside alley,” he said.
“There’s still more improvement to come from her, but I feel she has a place chance.”