Oct 22, 2015
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, October 22, 2015: IT’S Moonee Valley and not Royal Randwick for Twist Tops on Saturday.
Trainer Kris Lees accepted with the filly yesterday morning at both venues, and opted to send the filly to Melbourne overnight. She arrived safely this morning.
Twist Tops will contest the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) for two-year-olds at the Cox Plate meeting, and Ben Melham has been booked for the ride.
Twist Tops drew barrier 12 in a capacity field of 14 plus one emergency, whereas she had only six rivals in the PierroPlate (1100m) at Randwick.
“My first thoughts were to keep her at home and run at Randwick,” Lees said this morning.
“But after having a good look at both races, we decided to have a crack at Melbourne.
“It’s good prizemoney obviously and, if she can get across from the wide alley, I’m sure she will run well.
“She has trained on strongly since her debut run.”
Twist Tops easily won an 838m heat of the official Randwick 2yo trials on September 21, then unfortunately drew the outside barrier when a solid fourth to Calliope in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at the same track on October 3.
Lees also runs Oriental Lady at Moonee Valley tomorrow night when the Cox Plate carnival kicks off.
Damien Oliver will be a new rider for the mare in the 2040m Handicap against her own sex.
She has 60kg on a 55kg minimum, and has drawn barrier nine in a field of 12.
“Unfortunately, she can’t draw a decent alley,” Lees said. “But if she has some luck, it’s certainly a race she can win.”
Oriental Lady has remained in Melbourne since finishing a luckless fourth to Long Face Grace in the $100,000 Pinker Plate (2080m) at Cranbourne under lights on October 9.
Before heading south, she was an excellent fourth to Beyond Thankful in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18.
Whilst Oriental Lady lines up at Moonee Valley tomorrow night, Wahng Way and Olympic Academy represent the stable at the corresponding Canterbury night fixture.
Christian Reith rides Wahng Wah in the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1200m) for three-year-old fillies, and apprentice Samantha Clenton partners Oylmpic Academy in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m).
Wahng Wah scored at Gosford on debut on October 8 against her own sex in a Maiden Plate (1100m), and Lees admits the Casino Prince filly’s performance surprised him a little.
“It’s a step up in grade at Canterbury tomorrow night, but she deserves her chance,” he said.
“She has pleased me since scoring at Gosford.”
Lees feels Olympic Academy has a great chance of returning to the winning list. Clenton’s 3kg city claim means the gelding has a 4kg turnaround on his last-start conqueror Brogue.
“Brogue just caught him at Canterbury that day, and was given a magnificent ride by Hugh Bowman,” he said.
“Olympic Academy has been a bit unlucky at his last two runs. He is nicely drawn tomorrow night and this is his chance to break through.”