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  • Provincial Racing NSW


TWO-STATE acceptor Powerful Peg is staying at home to race at a track where she has reacted well at both runs.

Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has opted for the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick tomorrow rather than a Class 6 Plate (1400m) at the corresponding Eagle Farm fixture.

Powerful Peg drew awkwardly at both venues, and her trainer decided to focus on Randwick, where her two starts have produced good performances on both occasions.

She was just beaten by Contemporary in a Benchmark 78 Handicap over tomorrow’s distance on December 30, and more recently wasn’t far away when fifth to Tintookie in the Group 3 Wenona Girl Quality – again over the same journey – on March 9.

Third placegetter Wee Nessy won the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) there last Saturday.

Powerful Peg has won six (including three on end in 2022 and then two in a row in town in July and August last year) of her 19 starts, but is yet to score in five runs this preparation, which began with that second on December 30.

“She has probably lost a bit of her consistency, but looks well,” Lees said this morning.

“This is a strong race tomorrow, but she likes Randwick and is very capable at her best.”

Tim Clark rides Powerful Peg for the first time tomorrow as Lees splits his three runners between jockeys at the final meeting of the Sydney autumn carnival.

Stable apprentice Dylan Gibbons partners Almania in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m), and Nash Rawiller reunites with Kinloch in the Benchmark 100 Handicap (1400m).

“It’s a month between runs for Almania, who is in great form,” Lees said.

“He has drawn awkwardly, but is in good order.

“This race will top him off nicely for the Gosford Cup.”

The $300,000 Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) will be run at the Saturday stand-alone meeting on May 11.

“Kinloch is another who likes Randwick, and has trained on well since his latest second in the Muswellbrook Cup (1500m) run at Newcastle a fortnight ago,” Lees said.

“Nash won the Provincial-Midway Championships Final on him two years ago, and also a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) when resuming in January.

“Again it’s a pretty strong race, but he is one of the chances.”

Lees has withdrawn both Powerful Peg and Orlabent (Class 3 Plate, 1000m) from Eagle Farm, and will rely on newcomer Enterprise Pomme (Damien Thornton) in the Ascot Quality (1000m).

Australian Bloodstock purchased the winner of five races last September, and she has been in work at Lees’ Gold Coast base and ran second in a 1050m trial on the synthetic track there on March 29.

Enterprise Pomme hasn’t raced since finishing second in the Gold Jewel (1400m) at the Gold Coast on March 9.

“The 1000m tomorrow is short of her best, and we’ll ride her conservatively to give her the chance to finish the race off,” Lees said.

Story John Curtis, April 19, 2024 - Pics Steve Hart Photographics

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