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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees’ Oakleigh Plate recollection has inspired him to have a shot at Saturday’s feature sprint at Caulfield with prolific winner Brudenell.

He has called on Melbourne jockey Daniel Moor to ride the four-year-old – who has a better than 50 per cent win strike rate (eight from 15 starts) - in the $750,000 Group 1 to be run over 1100m.

“The Oakleigh Plate hasn’t been a long term goal for Brudenell,” Lees said this afternoon.

“It’s been there, but he had to earn the right to have a crack at it.

“It’s often a blanket finish and won by a lightweight, and I don’t consider it’s a vintage line-up this year.

“Brudenell is in form, has a light weight (52kg) and a favorable barrier draw (six in a field of 15).

“He has trained on well since his gutsy win with 59kg in a Benchmark 94 Handicap (1000m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.”

Brudenell, a 2021 $80,000 Inglis Classic yearling, will be trying to emulate his sire Russian Revolution, who won the 2018 Oakleigh Plate for trainers Peter and Paul Snowden.

Russian Revolution also had an outstanding strike rate, and was retired to stud after his Plate victory; his seventh from 11 starts.

Lees trained his Oakleigh Plate hope’s dam, the four-times winner Knit ‘N’ Purl, and Brudenell is her second foal.

Brudenell also was an acceptor for the Benchmark 94 Handicap (1100m) at Saturday’s Rosehill Gardens meeting, but Melbourne is his goal.

Lees has dual representatives in both the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m), and Benchmark 100 Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill.

Kalapour (Nash Rawiller) and Almania (Tom Sherry) contest the Cup, and Ucalledit (apprentice Ben Osmond) and Kinloch (Rawiller) line up in the Benchmark 100.

Lees won the Parramatta Cup in consecutive years (2019 and 2020) with Red Cardinal and Mustajeer, who both finished 23rd in respective Melbourne Cups at their previous starts.

He is following a similar path with Kalapour, who ran 20th in last year’s Cup after winning the Group 3 Archer Stakes (2500m) at Flemington three days earlier.

“Kalapour has won first-up before but in weaker class in a 1500m Benchmark 78 Handicap at Hawkesbury nearly two years ago at his first run for us,” Lees said.

“He has had two recent trials, but we don’t want any more rain for him.

“Almania was second emergency and has now gained a start, and can run well, having taken improvement from a resumption at Randwick late last month, his first start since last March.”

Ucalledit and Kinloch are both heading to the $250,000 Group 3 Newcastle Stakes (1400m) on March 8.

“Ucalledit is better for one run back in late January and a tick-over trial at Gosford, but we don’t want it heavy for him.

“Kinloch is going great, being unbeaten at Randwick and the Sunshine Coast at his two runs back, and worked well between races at Newcastle last Saturday.

“His wide draw is not such a disadvantage as he gets back anyway.”

Lees runs Little Beginnings (Sam Clipperton) in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1250m) and both Per Inaway (Nash Rawiller) and French Marine (apprentice Molly Bourke) in the Night Sprint Series Final (1100m) at tomorrow’s final meeting of the Canterbury night season.

“Little Beginnings had a freshen after his unplaced run at Warwick Farm on January 10, and had a trial at Scone on February 14,” Lees said.

“He has drawn awkwardly in a field of eight, and hopefully can get some cover in the run.

“Per Inaway won in blinkers before, and they go back on her.

“She just didn’t come up last preparation, but has trialled okay and we will know where we are with her tomorrow night.

“French Marine will bowl along under his light weight after Molly claims 2.5kg, and might take some running down.”

Lees’ sole Brisbane runner is first starter Mr Crowning Moment (Andrew Mallyon) in the QTIS Jewel Prelude (1110m) for two-year-old colts and geldings, at Doomben on Saturday.

“The wide gate is a worry, but he is going well and can be strong at the end if they run along up front and set it up for him,” Lees said.

. Lees will have multiple entries, including Final favorite Tavi Time, for next Thursday’s opener of the Polytrack Provincial Championships at Kembla Grange.

“Cloudland will definitely run and perhaps one or two others, and most likely we will keep Tavi Time for the Newcastle Qualifier two days later,” Lees said.

Story John Curtis, February 22, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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