Nov 06, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Friday, November 6, 2015: AWARD SEASON will have to wait for another day to make his comeback.
The talented but injury-plagued stayer was to have returned after a two and a half year absence in tomorrow’s Benchmark 81 Handicap (1900m) at Canterbury.
However, trainer Kris Lees has decided to pull him out, not wanting to take any chances after such a long layoff because of the heavy rating.
Canterbury this morning was a “Heavy 8”. “There’s no point risking him,” Lees said from Melbourne this morning.
“It’s been a big effort from all concerned to get the horse back to where he is, so we’ll wait for another week or so.”
Award Season has been sidelined since scoring over 2200m (ridden by the now retired Jim Cassidy) at Warwick Farm on March 9, 2013.
It was his fourth success from his last five starts, including two other Sydney wins at Warwick Farm and Canterbury.
His only “blemish” in that purple patch of form was a sixth (as $4.40 favorite) to Tuscan Fire in the $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 13, 2013.
Award Season’s career has since been dogged by tendon injuries, hence Lees’ decision to wait for a firmer surface to make the now eight-year-old gelding’s return.
Whilst Award Season is an absentee tomorrow, his trainer certainly hasn’t given up hope of winning the race.
He will start Olympic Academy (Tye Angland), who is due for a breakthrough after being runner-up at his last two starts – both at Canterbury.
“He is very genuine, and likes the wet,” Lees said.“It would be nice to see him get a win again.”
Lees, six times premier Newcastle trainer, will have only two representatives at home tomorrow on the Beaumont (inner) track.
He runs both Black Misty (Andrew Gibbons) and Go Arrivederci (Robert Thompson) in the Maiden Handicap (1200m).
“Both are place chances,” Lees said.
Lonhro filly Black Misty on debut ran third to Mr McBat in a 3YO Maiden (1000m) at Scone on October 16.
Go Arrivederci, a Snitzel filly, has raced five times for two placings. She ran fifth to Rosaleisha last time out in a Maiden Plate (1200m) at Gosford on October 15.
Lees has withdrawn the unraced Vanderkemp from the 1150m Maiden Plate.
Vanderkemp, raced by the Wanless family, is beautifully named. He is a son of Rip Van Winkle, and named because Michael Vanderkemp trained and drove the brilliant 1970s pacer with the same name as the stallion.