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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees has called on Robbie Dolan to step into the breach for his Stradbroke Handicap representative Dream Hour.

Fellow Brisbane jockey Kyle Wilson-Taylor was initially booked for the gelding in the $3m Group 1 feature to be run over 1400m at Eagle Farm on Saturday. However, he could not be sure of making Dream Hour’s 51.5kg, hence Dolan’s engagement.

The leading Newcastle trainer was at the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning to watch his winter carnival team in action, and was pleased with Dream Hour’s work.

“Andrew Mallyon rode him, and he worked very nicely,” Lees said after returning to Newcastle. “Obviously, it is going to be a tough task to win the Stradbroke, but you have to be in it to win it.”

Lees will use a tongue tie on Dream Hour in the Stradbroke; the former Victorian securing a “free ticket” when he won The Gateway at the same track and over the same distance last December.

Dream Hour drew barrier 3 (he will jump from 2 if the fourth emergency Aureus Angel doesn’t secure a run), and that wasn’t lost on his trainer.

“I can draw a gate when they are 100-1,” he laughed, referring to his three-year-old filly Kind Words’ outstanding and luckless performance when fourth in last Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm.

Kind Words started from the extreme outside in a capacity field, and was never on the track.

“It was a huge run,” Lees said. “She will spell for a month in Queensland, and I’m looking forward to getting her back as a four-year-old mare next season.”

Meanwhile, Lees recalled an interesting association with Dream Hour’s new rider, who relocated from Sydney to Brisbane last year.

“Robbie Dolan rode our UK import Mugatoo (who gave Lees his first Newcastle Gold Cup victory in 2020, and also won the $5m All-Star Mile at The Valley the following year) in his first two wins for us at Randwick and on the Kensington track in early 2020,” he said.

“He was then apprenticed to Mark Newnham (now training in Hong Kong) and has ridden a number of winners for me.”

Following the barrier draw late on Tuesday afternoon, Dream Hour was an $81 chance with, with last Saturday’s impressive Eagle Farm winner Vilana the new favorite at $6.50 in a very open contest.

Lees has confirmed Adelaide River, Cleveland and last year’s Queensland Oaks winner Amokura as his representatives in Saturday’s $1.2m Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm.

However, he is considering missing the race with Luncies and keeping him for Saturday week’s $250,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2100m).

Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings has third emergency Strait Acer in the Stradbroke. This year’s Provincial-Midway Championships runner-up drew barrier 17.

Lees’ apprentice Dylan Gibbons’ mount Semana drew barrier 22, but will come in four spots if all five emergencies do not gain starts.

Kembla Grange two-year-old Smashing Time (Tommy Berry) drew barrier 4 in a field of 14 for Rob and Luke Price in Saturday’s $1m Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm.

Lees was one of four provincial trainers successful at Tuesday’s Scone meeting. He prepared debutante Lights Of Paradise (Christian Reith) to take a 1300m Maiden Handicap at $7, and fellow Newcastle trainer Paul Perry won the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1700m) with $4 favorite Rothrock, ridden by apprentice Shae Wilkes.

Gosford’s Angela Davies’s $2.70 favorite Miss Cartel (Andrew Gibbons) took another division of the 1300m Maiden, and Kembla Grange’s Ross McConville made it four in a row with the promising South Of India ($2.30 favorite), who led throughout in the Benchmark 82 Handicap (1000m) for Jean Van Overmeire.

Story John Curtis, June 11, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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