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  • Provincial Racing NSW


AS one Kris Lees-trained gelding strives to win another feature race at the Scone carnival this weekend, his stablemate belatedly makes a comeback after a lengthy absence.

Between them, the pair has won 17 races.

Runner-up in both the Muswellbrook Cup (run at Newcastle) and Tamworth Cup at his last two starts, Kinloch lines up in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) on Saturday, whilst Special Reward will have his first start since August 2022, in the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m).

Dylan Gibbons will ride Kinloch, and Aaron Bullock is aboard Special Reward.

Whilst Kinloch’s last two runs have been at 1500m and 1400m, Lees isn’t concerned about him coming back to the 1300m of the Luskin Star, which he won with Clearly Innocent (Hugh Bowman) seven years ago.

“Kinloch is racing really well, and we’ve spaced his runs,” he said on Thursday afternoon.

“It was three weeks between the Muswellbrook and Tamworth Cups, and it will be three weeks again to Scone.

“They are sure to run along and the big track at Scone will give him his chance to return to the winning list.”

Seven-times winner Kinloch numbers the 2022 Provincial-Midway Championships Final (1400m) amongst those, and earlier this year powered home to take the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m).

Special Reward has won 10 races, including the 2020 Group 3 Newcastle Stakes (1400m), and was to have resumed last Saturday at home at the transferred Gosford stand-alone meeting, after a lengthy injury-enforced layoff.

Such is the now eight-year-old’s competitive nature that he has won both his recent trials on the Beaumont track (March 27) and Scone (April 17).

“Special Reward is in great order, but I didn’t want to kick him off on a heavy track at home last week,” Lees said.

“He has drawn awkwardly, and we’ll go back on him and see if he can finish over the top.”

Lees has Razeta (Andrew Gibbons) in the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone, but will wait until the 7.30am scratching deadline on Saturday before confirming a start.

“She has also drawn awkwardly, but would be better suited with more rain as she is unbeaten from two runs on heavy ground,” he said.

Lees has three acceptors in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1700m), but will keep Worthily for a race at home next Saturday and rely on Fulfilled (Josh Parr) and Baltic Coast (Dylan Gibbons).

“Fulfilled is an import who arrived from the UK as a gelding, and had nice form there,” he said.

“He hasn’t raced since October, and will definitely take benefit from this race.

“Baltic Coast made the Provincial-Midway Championships Final after finishing third in the Wild Card at home, and then ran well when runner-up at Canterbury last time.”

Lees has four acceptors at Friday’s opening day of the Scone carnival, but Lady Soames (Class 2 Handicap, 1300m) is not a certain runner.

Dylan Gibbons will ride Viaconi in the Maiden Handicap (1000m), and Tommy Berry partners First Person (Class 1 Handicap, 1100m) and Aged Care (Inglis 2YO Challenge, 1100m).

“Viaconi was gelded after failing at Canterbury on New Year’s Day, having finished second on debut there a couple of weeks earlier,” Lees said.

“He won a 1000m Scone trial last month, and appears to have come up well.

“First Person has drawn nicely and should get the race run to suit, whilst Aged Care ran second on debut at home but has a tough task to beat the favorite (Victorian visitor La Pleine Lune, a runaway winner at the recent Warrnambool carnival).”

Lees has five acceptors at Saturday’s Doomben meeting, headed by last year’s Scone Cup runner-up Luncies, who resumes in the Listed Members Handicap (1600m).

“I decided not to run him in the Hollindale Stakes at the Sunshine Coast last week on that testing track, but he is coming along nicely,” he said.

“He raced well in Brisbane last winter, and will follow a similar program this year.

“Nothing went right for Basarwa at Eagle Farm last time, and he is much better drawn in the Class 6 Handicap (1600m) and can run well. I may not start Five Crowns in the same race.

“Selous is racing consistently and will run if she gets a start in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1350m).

“Enterprise Pomme is also racing consistently and tackles the Listed Bright Shadow (1110m) against her own sex. It’s a tough race but she isn’t without a chance.”

Story John Curtis, May 16, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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