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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees hasn’t had many runners, but it’s nine years since he won the Tamworth Showcase Cup.

He is looking to put his name back in the record books there in next Friday’s 1400m Cup – which carries both a $200,000 purse along with eligibility for The Big Dance (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick in November.

He won last year’s inaugural running of the $2m feature with Rustic Steel.

Lees has named two of his Provincial-Midway Championship Qualifiers, Acquitted and Loch Eagle, to head his team for the feature Tamworth meeting.

Loch Eagle ran second to stablemate Spangler in last Saturday’s Final, whilst unfortunately Acquitted was a race morning withdrawal because of an elevated temperature.

The latter had easily won the Wyong Qualifier (1350m) on March 25, defeating subsequent Final third placegetter Cross The Rubicon.

“Acquitted recovered quickly, and is right to go to Tamworth,” Lees said.

Lees won the 2014 Tamworth Cup with Pitt Street (Dale Spriggs) when it was worth less than half the current prizemoney.

He also finished third last year with Kinloch, who had won the Provincial-Midway Final 13 days earlier.

Pitt Street was a country Cups specialist, also winning the 2013 Walcha Cup and 2014 Muswellbrook Cup (coincidentally on the same day Protectionist, subsequently joining Lees’ team, won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington). He was also placed in the 2012 Ballina Cup and 2013 Quirindi Cup.

Eight races have been programmed for Tamworth Cup day, with the Mornington Showcase Handicap (2100m), Jardel Cup F&M Benchmark 66 Showcase Handicap (1200m), John Clift Memorial Benchmark 58 Showcase Handicap (1000m), and Country Magic Class 1 Handicap (1400m) all boasting $50,000 purses.

The three remaining races – Maiden Showcase Plate (1000m), Country Boosted Showcase Maiden Showcase Plate (1400m), and Romantic Dream 2YO Plate (1000m) – are each worth $30,000.

Nominations for all races close with Racing Australia at 11am on Monday.

. Whilst Lees is keen to win the Tamworth Showcase Cup again, he is also targeting the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting on Saturday week.

Razeta and Spangler, both impressive winners on Day 2 of The Championships, will be back in action.

Razeta added further black type to her record when she easily won the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday, whilst Spangler gave Kris Lees his fifth success in the Provincial-Midway Championship Final (1400m) on the same program, beating home stablemate Loch Eagle.

“Razeta will go to the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m), and Spangler will run in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1500m),” Lees said.

The $200,000 Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas for three-year-olds will be run at set weights, and Deep Field filly Razeta will carry 54kg; only 0.5kg more than when she beat colts and geldings in the South Pacific.

She also won the Listed Desirable Stakes (1400m) at last spring’s Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

Lees ran last Saturday’s Provincial-Midway Championship Final runner-up Loch Eagle in last year’s Hawkesbury Guineas, when fourth to Mr Mozart.

Spangler ran well below his best when eighth to Phearson as a well-beaten favorite in Hawkesbury’s Championship Qualifier (1400m) on March 4, but turned that form around when fifth in Short Shorts’ record-breaking Kembla Grange Qualifier (1400m) a fortnight later, and second in the Wildcard (1400m) at Newcastle on March 30 before trouncing his rivals in the Final last Saturday.

*Words - John Curtis April 13, 2023*

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