Lees chasing hometown glory
Kris Lees will be on a mission to break a feature race hoodoo at his home track of Broadmeadow when he starts two runners in the Group Three Cameron Handicap.
Lees was born and raised in Newcastle and would dearly love to capture a major race on his home turf.
He has come close with the likes of County Tyrone twice running third in the Newcastle Cup to Another Warrior in 2004 and Bianca last year, while Britt’s Best was runner-up to Archave in the 2003 Cameron Handicap.
“I ran second with Britt’s Best a few years ago,” Lees said of his history in the Cameron.
“It would be a special race to win. I’ve had a few seconds in the major races here but I haven’t won one yet.”
Lees will saddle up Absolutelyfabulous and Pins On Parade in Wednesday’s 1300 metre race and rates both as chances.
Absolutelyfabulous will contest the Cameron in preference to the Tibbie Stakes for mares on Thursday with another of Newcastle’s favourite sons, Robert Thompson, booked for the ride.
“I think the 1300 will be ideal and it looks a nice race for her,” Lees said.
“There should be genuine speed which she needs, and she ran a very good race here in the Newmarket.”
Absolutelyfabulous has drawn well in barrier four while Lees is hoping Pins On Parade’s on-pace racing pattern will help him overcome barrier 11.
“He’s come back from Brisbane where he won quite well. It’s a bit of a test for him over the 1300 metres but he is an on-pace horse and he’s fit so he might just take catching,” Lees said.
Lees is wary of topweight Black Piranha who will be racing for the first time since taking out the Group One Stradbroke Handicap in June.
The Con Karakatsanis-trained gelding, who is being aimed at the Cox Plate, has a handy fresh record but with 60kg he will be conceding seven kilos to Lees’ pair.
“He’s the class horse and a Group One performer but he’s first-up with a big weight and he could be vulnerable,” Lees said.
“But I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
The Group Three Spring Stakes (1600m) has attracted a handy field of 14 headed by Gerald Ryan-trained colt Hus Der Lieften and Furious Stakes placegetter Lovemelikearock.
Trainer Anthony Cummings is leaning towards starting the filly in the Spring Stakes despite also nominating her for the Tea Rose Stakes on Saturday.
Acceptance for Thursday’s Newcastle Cup (2300m) will be taken on Tuesday but dual Group One placegetter Galileo’s Daughter won’t be there with Cummings saying she has been retired and will be served by Fastnet Rock this spring.
By Mandy Cottell