It’s Final Time For Promising Newcastle Gelding

Kris Lees is hoping the decision to keep Tavi Time on fresh legs can deliver him an unprecedented sixth win in the Provincial-Midway Championships Final at Randwick.

The Newcastle trainer has dominated the race since its inception in 2015, including the past three renewals in succession.

On Saturday at Randwick, he will have weight of numbers on his side in a quest to continue that trend when he saddles up five runners in the $1 million Final (1400m), including the well fancied Tavi Time.

“You could make a case for each horse, but I’d suggest Tavi Time has been our first seed all along,” Lees said.

“I’ve seen nothing to think he won’t race really well, albeit he’s looking for a mile or further after this run.

“His wheels spun a bit on that sticky track (last start) and that two-week gap probably didn’t have him as sharp as what he can be, so I’m hoping the four week gap will suit him better.”

Tavi Time booked his spot in Saturday’s feature with an emphatic four-length win in the qualifying heat at Newcastle last month before finishing runner-up to Whincat over 1400m at Rosehill on March 16.

He had been the nominal favourite for Saturday’s race but drifted to $4.80 after drawing barrier 16, although he will start from 13 if the emergencies don’t run.

Lees can also find positives for his other contenders, notably Willinga Freefall who was closing late when runner-up to Saturday’s rival Terra Mater in the Wildcard.

“Willinga Freefall was really good at Newcastle and had excuses not to win,” Lees said.

“He will get to the races in good order and depending on the track, you can make a case for the others.”

Dylan Gibbons will partner Tavi Time, while the trainer and his apprentice will also team up to chase their second Group 1 win together with Kalapour in the Sydney Cup (3200m).

A surprise winner of the Tancred Stakes (2400m) last start, Kalapour ‘s only previous two-mile test was in the 2023 Melbourne Cup where he finished down the track.

However, Lees is keen to give him another opportunity over the distance while he is “in the prime of his career”.

“He’s only had one attempt and that was in the Melbourne Cup where he was at the end of a really long preparation,” Lees said.

“On what he showed us last start, he gets every chance to run out a strong two miles and he gets plenty of weight relief.”

– RAS NewsWire

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