A break-out season for Kris Lees looks set to continue at Wyong on Saturday with the stable saddling up eight runners at the club’s Christmas In July race meeting.
Records continue to tumble for Lees, with his current winners tally of 181 for the 2017-2018 season, surpassing his previous best by 20 with two weeks remaining.
He has already set a new personal best with 41 metro wins for the season, has smashed his Provincial record by seven and a half wins and with 78 victories, is only three wins short of his best in country NSW.
Lees finished second behind the powerful Waller stable last season for the most winners trained in this State and is on track to emulate that. He attributes his success to continued growth in the stable.
“We’ve had a good season and I’d probably put it down to more horses and better quality horses,” Lees said.
“The volume of horses has increased and that certainly helps.
“We haven’t had as much luck in the big races. We’ve had seven places in Group 1’s and several of them were very close.
“It is rewarding to be bettering our statistics all the time but the expectation is also higher.”
Lees considers Unbridled Power, Progression and Time And Again as among his best chances on Saturday.
Unbridled Power, who lines up in the 1350m Class 2, was narrowly beaten at Wyong last start and Lees is confident she can go one better.
“She just got beat the other day, there wasn’t much in it and she is in good form,” Lees said.
“She handles Wyong well and the one barrier will suit.”
He is also hoping Declaration of War filly Time And Again will go one better in the 1200m 2YO Maiden.
“It was a good run on debut and she wasn’t beaten that far either.
“She has drawn reasonably well in seven and that should suit her.”
Lees saddles up three runners in the 1100m Maiden including Australian Bloodstock gelding Rothman.
The Rothesay two-year-old was strong on debut at Newcastle, finishing third over the 900m and Lees considers the extra distance will suit. “He’s a nice horse. He went alright last start coming off a couple of good trials.
“Londinium in the same race is a nice filly. It will probably suit her over more ground but I still think she should race well here.”
Weigela brings up Lees treble of runners, with the Epaulette gelding first up after three trials.
Lees said it was crunch time for another Australian Bloodstock horse Mr Tindall, one of his two runners in the 1200m Class 2. “He’s been around the money without winning so it’s a bit of a D day for him. He was third at Wyong a couple of starts back so he’s got pretty reasonable form on the track.
“My other runner Grand Soleil is having her first start in Australia.
“She probably needs the outing but should get home okay. She’s owned by Graham Bax, one of the breeders of Lucia Valentia.” The Savabeel mare had 16 starts in New Zealand for a win and seven placings.
Lees is quietly confident about the chances of well-bred filly Progression in the Class 1 over 1000m.
The three-year-old has good form at Wyong, scoring her debut win in October and finishing third in April, both over the 1000m. “She is going good, and races well fresh and likes the track,” Lees said.
“In saying that it’s a pretty competitive looking race but I’m confident she’ll race well.”
RACE 1 – 11.54am: K2 CONCRETE CONSTRUCTIONS MAIDEN PLATE (1350m): 1 CHINA GALE, 2 Waiheke, 3 Elemetae, 4 Miss Demi.
RACE 2 – 12.29pm: CURE BRAIN CANCER -DIPG AWARENESS MAIDEN PLATE (2100m): 1 NIGHT BREAKER, 2 Lake Hayes, 3 Bless Him, 4 Whitney’s Star.
RACE 3 – 1.04pm: JUST CONVEYORS 2YO MAIDEN HANDICAP (1200m): 1 TIME AND AGAIN, 2 Kapajack, 3 Chauvinist, 4 Fearless Girl.
RACE 4 – 1.39pm: KEVIN R SHEATHER CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1350m): 1 UNBRIDLED POWER, 2 Love Shack Baby, 3 Loveletter, 4 Oakfield General.
RACE 5 – 2.14pm: THE DREW CHIVAS MEMORIAL MAIDEN HANDICAP (1100m): 1 WEIGELA, 2 Rothman, 3 Cosimo, 4 Galahad’s Quest.
RACE 6 – 2.54pm: RYAN’S METAL ROOFING CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1000m): 1 TRUMBULL, 2 Couvre Lit, 3 Progression, 4 Bell Serenade.
RACE 7 – 3.34pm: CITRUS CLEAN BENCHMARK 67 HANDICAP (1600m): 1 SOVIET, 2 Billy Can, 3 Falcon Island, 4 Don Pellegrino.
RACE 8 – 4.14pm: CLEAN N CARE CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1200m): 1 LADY I AM, 2 Gretzky, 3 Mr Tindall, 4 Picardy Rose.