Jun 28, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Friday, June 28, 2019: BIG Duke is the stable elect, but don’t overlook Saunter Boy.
That was the message this morning from the Kris Lees stable leading up to tomorrow’s Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
The Australian Bloodstock pair dominate pre-post betting on the feature event, with Big Duke favorite and his stablemate second favorite.
“Big Duke deserves another breakthrough; his last two runs at Eagle Farm when placed in both the Brisbane Cup (2400m) and Tattersall’s Cup (3000m) have been excellent,” Lees said this morning.
“I’ve got no problem about backing him up because he has come through the Tatts Cup last Saturday without any problems and done well this week.
“I’m sure he will be hard to beat because he is at his best on wet ground.
“Saunter Boy is not to be overlooked, either. Two runs this time in have brought him on, and he is continuing to improveand has 5.5kg less than Big Duke on a heavy track.”
Further rain at Caloundra overnight has kept the rating at a “Heavy 10”, with 128mm being recorded there in the past seven days up until 9am today.
Larry Cassidy partners Big Duke, who was gallant under 60kg last Saturday, but unable to catch the lesser-weighted talented three-year-old Vow And Declare (54kg) in Tatts Cup.
Jeff Lloyd, nearing retirement from the saddle, partners Saunter Boy who wasn’t far away when fifth to Destiny’s Kiss in the Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on June 15.
That was only his second start since last October when he ran third in a 2800m Listed event at St Cloud in France.
Lees has sent Asharani(Cassidy) north to contest the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) – the race which started Winx on her remarkable winning spree.
He has withdrawn her from a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) against her own sex at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
“Asharani has settled in well at the Gold Coast, and has won on a heavy track,” Lees said.
“She is fit and has a definite chance in an open race.”
He is also keen on the prospects of Intrinsic (Cassidy) in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1400m), following a strong-finishing fourth to Ready To Prophet in the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m) at Ipswich on June 15.
The So You Think mare was also an acceptor for the open company Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m), for which she is an emergency.
“Intrinsic will likely run in the Benchmark 75; it is a race she can win,” Lees said.
“She won over this course and distance last month on a heavy track, and her two runs since have been good.”
Lees has made gear changes on two of his runners at his home track meeting at Newcastle tomorrow.
Charlie’s Law will race in a lugging bit in the Class 2 Handicap (1400m), and Warset will wear blinkers in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m).
Andrew Gibbons will ride both, and also Lifetime Quest if he resumes in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m), where he also accepted with Only Wanna Sing (apprentice Louise Day), Albert’s No Pussy (Gibbons) and Hermosa Reward (Robert Thompson).
“I haven’t decided what I will run in that race, as I have also accepted with Only Wanna Sing and Lifetime Quest at Gosford on Tuesday,” Lees said.
“Lifetime Quest is the best at Newcastle if we decide to go there.”