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NEWCASTLE: Thursday, June 15, 2023: KRIS Lees admits he is still feeling his way with lightly-raced UK import Adjourn, but is looking forward to testing him in city grade at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

The four-year-old goes to a Benchmark 78 Handicap over 1800m, and apprentices’ premiership front-runner Dylan Gibbons will ride him.

A member of the Australian Bloodstock team, Adjourn has raced only four times for Lees and comes off a last-start victory in a Class 1 Handicap (1600m) at Gosford on May 25.

“I’m still learning about him, but he is going the right way,” Lees said this evening.

“It’s a decent jump going from a Provincial Class 1 to a Benchmark 78 in town, but the extra distance will suit him and he has trained on well.

“He had that one run at The Hunter meeting last November not long after getting off the plane from overseas.

“When he didn’t perform as well as we would have liked, he went for a break.

“His run over 1600m when third at the Scone metropolitan meeting on May 12 was good as he finished off strongly, and then he was too good at Gosford in a small field.

“Adjourn won over 2050m at Doncaster in July last year, so the gradual step up to 1800m on Saturday shouldn’t be a problem.”

Stable apprentice Gibbons, on the verge of a century of winners for a second consecutive season, has ridden 62 in town so far this season and leads main rival Zac Lloyd (currently suspended) by four in his bid to capture the metropolitan apprentices’ title.

He has been booked for four of Lees’ five Rosehill acceptors, but the trainer is undecided whether he will run Brudenell (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1100m) first-up from a wide barrier.

“Brudenell appears to be coming up well, but it wouldn’t be an easy task having drawn one from the outside,” Lees said.

Gibbons rides stablemates Grande Rumore (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1300m) and Ella Te Ama (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1500m).

“Grande Rumore has run some nice races first-up in the past, and has had the benefit of two trials to resume on Saturday, and has the rails barrier,” Lees said.

“I thought Ella Te Ama was good first-up at Randwick three weeks ago, and she has taken improvement from that.

“She can run well, but will definitely benefit further from this race.”

Lees’ other Rosehill acceptor is Our Candidate in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m), and feels the gelding is another who will be improved by his second run since a break.

Lees was pleased with Luncies’ fourth to Without A Fight in last Saturday’s $1.2m The Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm, and will drop him back to a handicap at his next Queensland start.

“He will run in either the Tatt’s Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday week, or Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast a week later,” Lees said.

Both will be run at 2400m, but the Tatt’s Cup carries Group 3 status and has a $200,000 purse, whereas the Caloundra Cup is a Listed event but worth an extra $100,000.

*Words John Curtis June 15, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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