Jul 04, 2019
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, July 4, 2019: PROMISING stayer Our Candidate has an important gear change for his Australian metropolitan debut at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Kris Lees has decided to put blinkers on the import in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m).
“He was inclined to stargaze when he won at Wyong at his last start,” stable spokesman Lucas Miller explained this afternoon.
“He has worked in blinkers, and handled them well.
“Our Candidate is up in grade, but Kris has a good opinion of him. He hasn’t had a lot of racing and has further upside.”
A four-year-old by 2012 Epsom Derby winner Camelot (a son of noted staying influence Montjeu), Our Candidate has started only 15 times and carried 60.5kg when easily scoring over 2392m at Doncaster (UK) in April last year on soft ground.
He has now had three starts in his adopted country since being purchased by leading syndicator Australian Bloodstock and syndicated amongst clients.
After a first-up third over 1900m at Gosford on Anzac Day, Our Candidate was blocked for a run in the straight when a luckless fifth over 1850m at Newcastle on May 18.
Lees then found a “soft” race for him – a Class 1/Maiden Plate (2100m) – at Wyong on June 20, and he won easily as a $1.26 favorite.
Our Candidate drops 5kg on Saturday for the rise in class, and Jay Ford has the mount.
Lees holds a strong hand as he also runs High Power. Apprentice Sam Clenton will use 1.5kg of her claim to lessen the gelding’s weight to 56kg.
“High Power’s form is good, and is set up to run 2400m,” Miller said. “He also has a strong chance, but is drawn awkwardly with the rail out a fair way.”
Lees also has two runners – Mongolian Wolf (apprentice Jenny Duggan) and Top Prospect (Clenton) -in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1800m), and both race in the Australian Bloodstock colours.
A tongue tie goes back on to Top Prospect, who will carry 1kg more than his stablemate with his rider unable to use her claim.
“Mongolian Wolf is fitter for recent racing and was good last Saturday when fourth in a 2000m Handicap at Rosehill,” Miller said.
“Top Prospect was a 2000m winner at the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington last November, and has come on since his first-up fourth over 1600m at Randwick a fortnight ago. Both horses should handle the ground.”
Siesta Key (Ford in the 1300m 2YO Handicap) and Attention Run (Clenton in the 1600m Benchmark 78 Handicap) also carry the Australian Bloodstock colours.
“Siesta Key was good winning on debut over 1005m at Coffs Harbour last month,” Miller said. “Obviously, it’s a big jump to Saturday grade in town, but being a filly by So You Think, the 1300m is going to suit her.
“Attention Run is a German mare having her first run in Australia.
“She hasn’t raced since last August, but trialled nicely over 1200m at Newcastle last month. Her two German wins were over 1700m and 1850m, and she is going to take improvement from this run.”
Cuban Sizzle (Jason Collett) rounds out the Lees representatives, in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m).
“We would prefer a firmer surface for her,” Miller said. “But she ran well a fortnight ago when fourth over 1200m at Randwick on heavy ground.”
Powerline (Robbie Fradd) is Lees’ sole acceptor for Saturday’s Doomben meeting, but is not yet a confirmed starter.
He has also been nominated for a Class 6 Showcase Plate(1200m) at Thursday’s Grafton Cup meeting.
Lees has entered Intrinsic (currently 21st in ballot order with 54kg) for both Wednesday’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton, and the Mother’s Gift (1400m) against her own sex on Thursday.
Guard Of Honour is among the entries for Thursday’s traditional Cup day closer, the Sir James Kirby Quality (1000m).