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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRIS Lees has won five of the nine Provincial-Midway Championship Finals run so far – and bookmakers are tipping him to win another! today released the first market on the April 13 Final (1400m) – which will boast $1m for the first time - at Royal Randwick during The Championships, and made the leading Newcastle trainer’s Tavi Time a clear $4.50 favorite.

The talented four-year-old is putting together a very tidy record, having won five (the last two in a row) of his eight starts.

Tavi Time easily took a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600m) at home at The Hunter metropolitan meeting on November 18 before trouncing his rivals in the Mudgee Cup (1600m) on December 1; runner-up Balleistic Kids scored at Randwick at his next start.

The gelding’s Mudgee romp earned him eligibility for the $3m The Big Dance (1600m) at Randwick in November, but that’s down the track.

“Kris gave Tavi Time a break after Mudgee, and he has only recently come back to us,” stable spokesman Danny Greer said today.

“The Provincial-Midway Championships obviously is our immediate priority, and Kris has time to get him ready for the qualifying heats.”

Tavi Time, a son od Tavistock (who died in December 2019) initially was sold as a yearling in New Zealand in early 2021, and later that year was purchased for $130,000 at the Inglis Ready2Race sale for two-year-olds in Sydney.

Kembla Grange will open the series on February 29 with a 1400m heat for both eligible Provincial and Midway horses, and Newcastle hosts a Provincial only heat two days later over the same distance.

The first two placegetters in both those races automatically qualify, along with a further four heats, whilst Newcastle also hosts the Wild Card on April 3, where all three placegetters earn Final starts.

Lees is seeking to win the annual Final for the fourth year in succession, having scored with Cristal Breeze in 2021, Kinloch in 2022 and Spangler last year.

His earlier winners were Danish Twist (2016) and Serene Miss (2018).

In’s first market on the 2024 Final, only three horses are under double figures.

Last year’s winner Spangler is joint second favorite with leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup’s Phearson at $8.

Other Lees’ hopefuls in the early market are recent Brisbane winners Dream Hour ($15) and Willinga Freefall ($26), whilst fellow Newcastle trainer Sam Kavanagh has Kayobi ($15), and Wyong’s Kim Waugh has Shadows Of Love, also listed at $15.

The early market is:

$4.50 Tavi Time

$8 Phearson, Spangler

$11 Terra Mater

$15 Dream Hour, Kayobi, Peace Officer, Shadows Of Love

$26 Boston Rocks, Short Shorts, Promitto, So Good So Cool, Super Bright, True Crime, Vegas Outlaw, Willinga Freefall

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


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