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  • Provincial Racing NSW


LAST year’s Queensland Oaks winner Amokura begins a new campaign at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday as another winter carnival beckons.

The now four-year-old mare resumes in the Benchmark 100 Handicap (1500m), with stable apprentice Dylan Gibbons aboard.

Amokura hasn’t raced since an excellent third to Deny Knowledge in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 11, was rested after a light spring preparation and has had a good build-up to kicking off again.

"The 1500m is obviously short of her best, but we are expecting her to run well,” stable spokesman Danny Greer said on Friday morning.

“We would have preferred a 1200m trial here a fortnight ago, but she still won her 1000m heat well.

“This is a nice race to start her off and she can definitely be competitive, especially if they run along.

“Amokura can only improve on whatever she does tomorrow, and then she will head north again for the Brisbane carnival.”

Amokura is one of four Lees’ representatives at Rosehill, where the rail is in the TRUE position and a “Good 4” rating has been posted.

Razeta (apprentice Ben Osmond) and Powerful Peg (apprentice Molly Bourke) contest the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1300m) against their own sex.

“There’s not much between them,” Greer said. “If it was wet, Razeta would probably have been our pick.

“Powerful Peg’s form of late has been a bit indifferent, but Molly’s 3kg claim certainly helps and she has drawn the better of the pair and likes Rosehill.”

Former New Zealander Crickets Chirping (Gibbons) tackles the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m), and Greer has labelled her latest performance on the Kensington track at her maiden Australian start as a “forget run”.

“Nothing went right,” he said. “She hung and stewards ordered her back to the trials, and she ran second over 800m here on April 12.

“Obviously, we want to see her run up to her New Zealand form, and she has a favorable draw to be able to show her true ability on a bigger track.”


Lees has sent last season’s Group 1 placegetter Pier Pressure north to contest the Listed Princess Stakes (1600m) for three-year-old fillies at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Andrew Mallyon rides her and also the stable’s other runner, Brutal Bowler, in the 2YO Handicap (1200m).

“Pier Pressure ran well last time when runner-up although clearly beaten at Warwick Farm on Easter Monday, and has trained on strongly since,” Greer said.

“She is drawn nicely in a capacity field and is there with a definite chance in a very open race.

“Her performance will give Kris a better guide in terms of pressing on to races such as The Roses (2000m) at Doomben and Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm.

“Brutal Bowler is making his debut, and has pleased us in both his work and trials.

“He is a nice colt and can run really well if he takes that form into this race.”


Lees has sent Ucalledit (Gibbons) further north for a crack at the $775,000 The Archer (1300m) at Rockhampton on Sunday, and has opted to put blinkers on him for the first time.

“Ucalledit is coming back from 1500m to 1300m, and Kris wants to keep him focused,” Greer said.

“He has raced well in Queensland previously, and his fourth to stablemate Rustic Steel in the Group 3 Newcastle Stakes (1400m) two starts back was a good pointer.

“Rustic Steel dominated the race in front, and Ucalledit ran home strongly.”

. Willinga Freefall has been withdrawn from Friday’s $200,000 Tamworth Showcase Cup (1400m), with the stable to rely on last start Muswellbrook Cup second Kinloch (Aaron Bullock).

Story John Curtis, April 26, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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