Kris Lees has decided to run all four of his entries in Friday’s Newcastle Gold Cup, hoping to repel a strong interstate challenge and clinch a breakthrough in his hometown feature.
Lees confirmed his intention to start Admiral Jello, Doukhan, Singing and Wahng Wah in the $175,000 Group 3 Cup (2300m).
“I will definitely run all four horses, but haven’t confirmed riding bookings yet,” Lees said.
All four horses have been weighted on the limit (54kg).
It will be the second successive year the leading trainer has had a four-pronged Cup attack, and he is hoping for better fortune than last year.
His representatives then were Sense Of Occasion (4th at $6), Taree Cup winner Olympic Academy (6th at $31), Singing (7th as the $3.40 favorite) and Wyong Cup winner Slow Pace (11th at $19).
Lees so far has had five minor placings in the Newcastle Gold Cup; My Tally (2003), County Tyrone (2004 and 2008), Exinite (2006) and Rio Perdido (2015).
Lees had planned to run both Sound Proposition and Invincible Gem in Friday’s $150,000 Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m), but is now almost certain to rely on the former.
“I’m disappointed with the 57.5kg Invincible Gem has been given,” Lees said.
“My current thinking is to run her instead in the Tibbie Stakes against her own sex.”
Invincible Gem has 58kg in the $150,000 Group 3 Tibbie (1400m), which Lees won in 2014 with Fine Bubbles.
The mare has also been entered for both the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Saturday’s Randwick meeting.
Blake Shinn will ride former New Zealander Sound Proposition (59kg) in the Cameron, in which Lees last year saddled runner-up Le Romain, who carried the same weight.
Lees also nominated Princess Posh, Skylight Glow, Whispered Secret and Zestful for the Tibbie, but has not yet confirmed his final line-up.
He is leaning toward the $150,000 Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) with Whispered Secret. He won the race last year with Invincible Gem when it was run at Randwick.
Danish Twist, luckless on resumption when seventh to Ravi in the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday, returns to that track for her next assignment.
That will be the $400,000 Golden Pendant (1400m) – also against her own sex – on Saturday week. The Group 2 feature will be run at set weights plus penalties.
– Lees Racing