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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees heads back to Brisbane today, hoping to pick up some of the Eagle Farm spoils from the winter carnival.

The leading Newcastle trainer has seven representatives, including the $3m Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and $1.2m Q22 (2200m).

Dream Hour (Robbie Dolan) lines up in the Stradbroke, and Adelaide River (James McDonald), Cleveland (Dylan Gibbons) and Amokura (Mark Zahra) contest the Q22 at weight-for-age.

“I’m putting a tongue tie on Dream Hour following a recommendation from Andrew Mallyon, who has been riding him work at the Gold Coast,” Lees explained.

“He is one of the outsiders, but should get a nice run from an inside draw and can finish hard.

“Dream Hour showed he likes Eagle Farm where he easily won The Gateway (1400m) last December to clinch a Stradbroke start.”

Lees says both Adelaide River and Cleveland will be ridden more positively in the Q22 than was the case when both resumed in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1800m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago.

“A cross-over nose band comes off Adelaide River, and both he and Cleveland can definitely show nice improvement,” he said.

“We’ll assess their performances in this race before deciding if they have another run in Queensland.”

James McDonald, who bagged five winners at last Saturday’s Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm, is an important new rider for four-year-old stallion Adelaide River, who has been three-times Group 1 placed overseas, including runner-up in the Irish Derby (1414m) at The Curragh in July last year, to stablemate and Epsom Derby winner Auguste Rodin.

“Last year’s Queensland Oaks winner Amokura is going great, but needs luck to overcome her outside alley in the capacity field,” Lees added.

Enterprise Pomme (Gibbons) and Willinga Beast (Craig Williams) were emergencies and withdrawn from the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1300m), and instead will run in the Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m).

“Both mares have the same profile,” Lees said. “They will get back and run on and aren’t without chances.

“Willinga Beast is now owned by Arrowfield, and they may decide to retire her to stud at the end of this campaign.”

Pier Pressure (Mallyon) contests the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) against her own age.

“We didn’t proceed to the Queensland Oaks (2200m) after she was unplaced in The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 25, and the 1600m suits her better,” Lees said.

“Pier Pressure was beaten less than a length when fourth in the Princess Stakes over the Eagle Farm ‘mile’ in late April.”

Lees has only the one runner at Rosehill Gardens, withdrawing import Point King from the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) following overnight rain and a ‘Heavy 9’ rating.

He will start another import, former UK five-year-old Fulfilled, in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m).

Aaron Bullock rides Fulfilled, who made his Australian debut at the Scone Saturday stand-alone meeting on May 18 when 11th to Unusual Legacy in a similar race over 1700m.

He had won a 2414m event on the synthetic track at Wolverhampton (with 64kg) in October last year before coming to Australia.

“Fulfilled has taken nice improvement from the Scone race, but might need another run before reaching his peak.” Lees said.

 Story John Curtis, June 5, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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