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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees says former New Zealand mare Bellatrix Black is capable of causing an upset in Saturday’s $500,000 The Coast at Gosford.

Bellatrix Black ($34) is one of Lees’ three runners in the 1600m feature as he attempts to repeat his success in last year’s race with Rustic Steel, who subsequently won twice again at the distance (the Scone Cup not quite a week later and inaugural $2m The Big Dance at Royal Randwick in November).

Robbie Dolan will ride Bellatrix Black, the outsider of the Lees’ trio. The other pair Loch Eagle (Andrew Gibbons) and Razeta (Andrew Adkins) are $17 chances.

A Group 3 winner in New Zealand, Bellatrix Black is a lightly-raced four-year-old mare who has raced three times since joining Lees’ team under the Australian Bloodstock banner; her last start being at Rosehill Gardens on March 18 when sixth to Gin Martini in the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m).

“She is going better than her form reads, and is not without a chance,” Lees said this afternoon.

“It is a pretty open race, and I would not be surprised at all to see her figure in the finish.”

Bellatrix Black is the best drawn of the three stablemates at barrier two, with Razeta in seven and Loch Eagle the outside in the 13-horse field.

“We’ll go back on Loch Eagle, and give him one run at them,” Lees said. “I feel he is looking for the 1600m.

“Razeta was never comfortable in the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) a fortnight ago, but still kept going to the line to finish third.

“She has had only the one try at 1600m when ninth against her own sex in the Kewney Stakes at Flemington in March, then came back and brilliantly won the South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Randwick against the boys during The Championships.”

Loch Eagle is having his third attempt at 1600m. He ran seventh to Festival Dancer in the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle in 2021 and third to Kiss Sum in the Group 2 Gunsynd Classic at Eagle Farm last June.

Lees has three other Gosford representatives; Flag Of Honour (Sam Clipperton) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m), Dream Hour (Jason Collett) in the 3&4YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m), and Sir Lamorak (Clipperton) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2100m).

He takes blinkers off the talented Flag Of Honour, who resumes after racing in them only once when eighth in the Group 2 Callander-Presnell (1600m) at Randwick on October 22 before spelling.

The American Pharoah three-year-old has trialled well for his resumption, and was to have begun a new campaign at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday, but was a late withdrawal when the track deteriorated following rain.

“The tight track at Gosford might not be ideal, but Flag Of Honour is a very nice horse and I’m sure he will run well,” Lees said.

“Dream Hour is having his first run for us after coming from Melbourne. His two runs back at Flemington and Sandown were good, and he is also ready to run well.

“Sir Lamorak was tough when third at Hawkesbury a fortnight ago, and going up from 1800m to 2100m is in his favour.

“He looks to be a strong stayer, and should be very competitive again.”

. As well as Lees’ trio, Newcastle’s Sam Kavanagh (Kayobi) and Wyong’s Sara Ryan (Attractable) also will be represented in The Coast.

Jay Ford rides Kayobi ($7.50), and star apprentice Tyler Schiller has the mount on $26 chance Attractable.

Wyong’s Kim Waugh (Bethencourt, Ford) and Gosford’s Kylie Gavenlock (Audette, Adkins) contest the $200,000 Listed De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m), and both Ryan (Chief Conductor, Jenny Duggan) and fellow Wyong trainer Wayne Seelin (Invincible Kiss, Dolan) have starters in the Triple M 107.7 Thunder Thousand (1000m).

*Words John Curtis May 4 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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