Jun 06, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, June 6, 2019: QUEENSLAND Derby absentee Itz Lily instead will run at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
With third emergency Itz Lily unlikely to get a berth in the $600,000 Group 1 Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm, Kris Lees has decided to bring her home.
She will line up at Randwick in the Benchmark 74 Handicap (1800m) against her own age, with apprentice Sam Clenton in the saddle.
Clenton will be able to claim 1.5kg of her 2kg allowance, lessening the filly’s weight to 56kg.
“There seemed little point staying at the Gold Coast with our chances at long odds getting into the Derby field,” Lees said this afternoon.
“Itz Lily is racing well. Provided she travels well, she will definitely run at Randwick.”
The Snitzel filly, at her only Brisbane start, wasn’t far away when fourth to Etana(subsequent Queensland Oaks winner Winning Ways finished behind her) in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 18.
It was the first time she had missed a placing from seven starts.
Prior to going to Queensland, Itz Lily had bolted in over 1750m at Muswellbrook on May 3 in a Benchmark 58 Handicap.
Recent Port Macquarie 1500m winner Dundee Lee (Andrew Gibbons) makes her city debut against Itz Lily. Like her stablemate, she has also won three races so far.
Lees has nine acceptors at the June Stakes meeting at Randwick, but Asharani will bypass the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600m) to run in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1550m) on the Kensington track on Monday.
He will still be represented in Saturday’s race by Zip A Dee Doo Dah (Sam Clipperton), High Power (Andrew Gibbons) and Occupy (Clenton).
“Zip A Dee Doo Dah and High Power each ran sixth when resuming at Eagle Farm and Randwick respectively, and the 1600m suits both better,” Lees said.
“Occupy raced a bit fierce when fifth over 2000m at Randwick a fortnight ago, so I’ve brought him back to the 1600m.”
Veteran stayer Doukhan will lump 62kg in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) after Clenton takes her full 2kg claim off his back.
Rain in Sydney earlier this week has ensured a start for the 10-year-old, who is at his best on wet ground.
“It’s plenty of weight, but it’s also a big drop in grade from the Sydney Cup (when Doukhan finished fifth to Shraaohover 3200m at Randwick on April 13),” Lees said.
Lees has opted for a tongue tie on Take It Intern (Gibbons) in the 1600m Handicap, where he also runs Mongolian Wolf (apprentice Jenny Duggan).
“Take It Intern played around a bit with his tongue last time,” Lees explained. “We’ll go forward from the wide gate.
“He looks the best of our two runners in that race.”
Lees will produce an interesting newcomer at his home track on Saturday.
Sebring youngster Mandirigma (Mitchell Bell) makes his debut in the 2YO Maiden Plate (900m) after winning his last three trials; the latest over 800m at Gosford (April 29) and Newcastle (May 9).
“He is a nice colt, and I expect him to run well,” Lees said.
He also runs Ruling Symbol (Aaron Bullock) in the Class 1 Handicap (1200m) and Think Free (apprentice Louise Day) in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1300m).
“Ruling Symbol won easily in a 1200m Maiden here three weeks ago, and has trained on well,” Lees said.
“He has drawn the outside in a field of eight, but should be very competitive again with the right run.”
Think Free won successive races over 1300m at Scone and 1400m at Newcastle on February and March before stepping up in class and finishing fifth to Miss Redoble in the Kembla Grange heat of the Provincial Championships (1400m) on March 23 on a heavy surface.
She again struck heavy ground when eighth to Baccarat Baby in a 1600m Listed 3YO event (Princess Stakes) at the Sunshine Coast on April 21 after leading.
“Think Free has freshened up nicely,” Lees said. “I feel she will run well.”