— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) September 1, 2016
Lees’ pairSense Of Occasion and Singing, which finished one-two at Rosehill on the weekend, will strive for Newcastle Cup (2200 metres) successin a fortnight.
The Cameron Handicap (1350m) and Tibbie Stakes (1350m) are the othergroup 3 races on Friday the 16th.Ladies day follows on Saturday the 17th.
In the meantime Lees is focused on clinching the $160,000 listedWyong Cup (2100m) with Slow Pace and Olympic Academy on Friday (4.35pm). Slow Pace has Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson on board recentlyback from injury while Olympic Academytook out the Taree Cup on August 21.
“Both of them are a chance of progressing to the Newcastle Cup as well,” Lees said. “It is a traditional lead up race.”
Down in Sydney on Saturday and Lees’Randwick Guineaschampion Le Romain will be the top weight in the $175,000 group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) after a first-up second at the same course last month.
“He has a very consistent record, but it is a really good race with five or six genuine chances,” Lees said.
“Hopefully the fence is alright, drawn barrier one, if races fair think he’ll be right in the race.
“Happy Clapperis the horse I probably have the most respect for in the race.He has run second in a Doncaster, third in the Queen Elizabeth and is very effective first up so will probably be the one to beat.”
The warm-up event for Le Romain will beAustralian track star Winx, hoping to continue a 10-race winning streak in the $250,000 group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
“I’m glad I’m not taking her on to be honest,” Lees said.
“Happy to watch.”
Lees’ other Group 1 star Lucia Valentina trials on the Central Coast this Tuesday before targeting the Underwood Stakes atCaulfield on September 24in preparation for aCox Plate charge at Moonee Valley on October 22.
TRACKSIDE: Hunter racing couple Kristy and Kris Lees help launch Newcastle Jockey Club’s spring carnival with Flake at Broadmeadow on Thursday. Picture: Simone De Peak
Returning tothe Newcastle Cup and Lees said it was a title he would like to collect.
“Any feature race is hard to win, but it’s arace which has eluded most Newcastle trainers,” Lees said.
“Ican’t tell you the last trainer to win it.
“We’ve had five placings in the last 10 years or so, but certainly going with a couple of chances anyway.
“Singing has also been nominated for the Caulfield Cup next month, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
Lees’ wife Kristy, who has been to countless meetings,will judge the NJC fashions on the field for ladies day as part of her ambassador role.
“It’s very exciting and I’m honoured to do this job,” she said.
“I think I’ve got the background and I’m looking forward to it.”
Knights playmaker Jarrod Mullen is also an ambassador for the spring carnival.