FRIDAY: April 24, 2020: KRIS Lees has favorites in two of the four feature races at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow, and is confident both In Her Time and Graff will run well.
Dual Group 1 winner In Her Time ($3.60 after $6 was bet earlier in the week) bows out from racing in the Group 3 Killahy Equine Hawkesbury Crown (1300m), whilst Graff ($6 into $4.40) resumes in the Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m).
Lees also runs $11 chance Aliferous (apprentice Robbie Dolan) in the Group 3 Chalker Accountants Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1500m), but does not have a runner in the Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).
Hugh Bowman, the regular rider of now retired Winx, partners In Her Time for the first time at her final start, and Lees understandably is hoping for a similar result as when the wonder mare bowed out in glory at Royal Randwick 12 months ago.
In Her Time struck trouble soon after the start and was responsible for an excellent performance when fifth to Greyworm in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
She tackled the “boys” then and goes back to meeting her own sex under set weights and penalties conditions, meaning she is attractively placed with 60kg in view of her record.
“In Her Time does not appear to have taken any harm from last Saturday’s race,” Lees said last night.
“Getting back on to a good track is definitely in her favour. I’m sure she will run very well.
“She has to be our pick ahead of stablemate Asharani, especially as that mare has drawn awkwardly.”
In Her Time has won twice (including the 2018 Group 1 The Galaxy, 1100m) at Rosehill, won her only start (the 2017 Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes) over the Rosehill 1300m, and has never been unplaced (winning once) from three starts at the distance.
Including Graff, whom Bowman also rides, Lees has three representatives in the Gold Rush; the others being Tactical Advantage (Josh Parr) and Agent Pippa (Dolan).
Graff, who won on debut over the Gold Rush 1100m at Rosehill as a two-year-old in April 2018, races for the first time under the banner of Australian Bloodstock and clients along with Aquis Farm, where he will eventually stand at stud.
Lees has made a number of changes, removing some gear and putting blinkers back on and adding a tongue tie.
“Graff has trialled and worked well, and is ready to back to the races,” he said. “His Rosehill record is good (two wins and two placings from five starts) and he invariably races well fresh.
“I’m happy with him and also look forward to seeing him run boldly.”
All going well, Graff will proceed to Scone’s Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on May 16 and the $350,000 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.
Australian Bloodstock also race Graff’s rivals Tactical Advantage and Agent Pippa.
“Tactical Advantage was unlucky when runner-up in this same race at Hawkesbury last year when resuming,” Lees said.
“He is fitter for two runs back, will appreciate getting back on to firmer footing and has drawn the inside.
“Agent Pippa is going in fresh and, whilst she will take improvement from the run, is pacy and will give them something to catch.”
Aliferous has raced well at all four starts this campaign, but is coming back in distance from her latest close second to Night’s Watch in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 29.
“Aliferous has been freshened, but is drawn awkwardly,” Lees said. “She will finish off strongly, and this should set her up nicely for the Gosford Gold Cup (2000m) at Randwick on May 9.
Lees is no stranger to Gosford Cup success, having already won the race twice with Oriental Lady in 2015 and Singing in 2018.