Kris Lees. Photo: Simone De PeakIt will be Newcastle to Newmarket and back to Newcastle to start next month for trainer Kris Lees.
The provincial trainer is laying down plans for a spring that could finish with a trip to Hong Kong, but he remains a realist about what could happen.
“You know racing, it can all fall over pretty quick,” he said.
It might be an exciting time for Lees as he will take control of the Caulfield Cup-bound Singing after a group 1 run over 2400 metres in Germany on September 7. But the trip to England could not come at a worse time.
“I just need to get over there and have things set up for him when he gets into quarantine at Newmarket,” Lees said. “It will be a hit-and-run mission really because I have some really good horses back here, which is a great place to be.
“I have watched his tapes and the boys at Australian Bloodstock have done a good job finding the right sort of horse for out here again. The plan is to run him in the Caulfield Cup, but like most of these horses I think he is going to be better in the autumn. It is good to be trusted with a horse like him.”
Lees wants to be back home for Newcastle Cup day where progressive stayers Ay No Digas and Oriental Lady, another two Germans Australian Bloodstock bought for him, could run.
“The boys are good at finding the right horses and they are locals from up here [in Newcastle], which makes it even better,” Lees said. “It would be great if we could win a Newcastle Cup for them because they have got a lot of locals into racing.”
Lees has a laid-back nature. Nothing becomes a big deal.
When Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett mentions that another one of his buys, Slow Pace, could be heading towards the Mackinnon Stakes then Hong Kong, if he is up to it, the trainer takes it in his stride.
“That would be great but it is a long way away, we have to get through Sydney before we even think of Melbourne,” Lees said. “Hong Kong, well that’s a dream.”
Racing is full of dreams.
But Lees’ team for the spring rolls off the tongue easily. Vinery Stakes winner Lucia Valentina will return in the Warwick Stakes or Toy Show Qaulity in a fortnight and the reports are good. For Australian Bloodstock there is Singing coming from Germany, former New Zealand mare Hera and the controversial Hathras to strengthen the team.
“I have a few irons in the fire and hopefully they come up,” Lees said. “I would say not since Samantha Miss have I had this sort of team. I’m lucky that I have some nice horses and the boys at Australian Bloodstock have had a big part in that, but I can’t wait for Lucia Valentina.
“She won the Vinery and probably should have won the Oaks but you never know with fillies how they are going to measure up at four.
“There is few unknowns in Hathras and Slow Pace, which are coming off decent breaks but are looking all right.”
However, for Lees, Saturday at Randwick is just as important as the future as Cressfield’s mare Thump resumes in the Missile Stakes.
“She has had a couple of trials and always runs a good race fresh,” Lees said. “We have had Brenton Avdulla on her at both the trials and he knows her well, and I would expect she will run a good race against a very good field.
“I think group 2 is her level and it would be good if she could win another one of these sort of races.”
First-up winner Gold Epona could add her record before a possible appointment with a stallion in the next month or so, as will black-type winner Express Power, which lines up against benchmark company.
“It is that time of year, they are racing for their future,” Lees said. “The breeding barn is there for both of them but we will wait and see what they can do on Saturday. You are only as good as your last run.”
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