Dec 10, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, December 10, 2015: KRIS Lees is no stranger to winning Hawkesbury’s innovative provincial and country Maiden events.
And he has a most interesting runner there on Sunday in the latest edition – an 1100m Handicap – as he strives to add to earlier successes with Hazy Blur and Admiral Jello.
It is a beautifully-bred unraced five-year-old named Charging, and, not surprisingly, Lees has sought the services ofthe same jockey (Brenton Avdulla) who partnered those previous winners.
Charging, a son of outstanding stud success Redoute’s Choice, fetched $230,000 at the 2012 Inglis Easter yearling sale.
But until now he hasn’t sported silk in a race.
“He has had a few issues,” Lees said this afternoon from Hong Kong, where he is preparing Lucia Valentina for Sunday’s Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.
Charging was initially with John O’Shea at Randwick and then Bjorn Baker at Warwick Farm.
Under Baker’s care, Charging finished a close second in a 740m barrier trial at Warwick Farm on the pro-ride track on June 13 last year.
“So far, so good,” Lees said. “He is pleasing me and is ready to go the races.”
Lees was naturally disappointed with the gelding’s draw at 16 in the capacity field of 14 plus four emergencies (all of which have drawn inside him).
Thus, he will start from 12 if the reserves do not secure starts and will race in a lugging bit.
“At this stage, I will run him,” Lees said. “But I will have a good look at the field and make a final decision.”
Charging has had two recent trials; both at Cessnock over 900m. At his latest on November 25, he beat Mr Standout in 53.89secs.
Lees also accepted with Stimuli (Avdulla) and Game Pie (apprentice Samantha Clenton) at Hawkesbury.
Both are resuming. Stimuli tackles the Class 2 Handicap (1100m), and has drawn the outside barrier in a field of nine.
He hasn’t raced since finishing seventh over 1100m at the Grafton carnival on July 8.
“Any cut out of the ground at Hawkesbury would suit this horse,” Lees said. “He’s definitely a better proposition when the track is affected.”
Import Game Pie was rested after scoring on his home track in a 1600m Maiden on August 8 at only his second Australian start..
Lees has nominated him for several recent races without accepting, and has chosen the Class 1 Handicap (1500m) at Hawkesbury for his resumption.
“It’s a suitable distance to kick him off,” Lees said. “He’s still a bit on the burly side being a stallion, but I’m sure he will be competitive just the same.”