PERSONAL BEST: Trainer Kris Lees is on track to break his own record. Picture: Ryan OslandNEWCASTLE trainer Kris Lees can celebrate a record-breaking season with a win by Whitlam at Rosehill tomorrow.
A win by Beaufort Gyre at Port Macquarie on Tuesday took Lees’s tally throughout Australia for the present season to 107 – a personal best.
His previous top score was 106 winners in 2008-09.
As well as winners throughout NSW, Lees also had success with Express Power in the listed Golden Bracelet at the Gold Coast and with Next The Universe at Doomben last Saturday in Queensland.
Lees was also successful in Melbourne with Soapy Star at Moonee Valley.
Now he is hoping for another Sydney victory with Whitlam which runs in the Flight Services over 1100m tomorrow.
“There looks to be good go forward in this race which will suit him,” Lees said.
“He was slightly disappointing last start but with a stronger tempo on Saturday he might get a good suck up run behind them and hopefully finish it off.
“He has really thrived since his first-up effort.”
Lees, who has trained group 1 stars such as Samantha Miss, County Tyrone and Vitesse Dane, said that there were “no stand-outs in his team right now”.
“What we have now are a good lot of horses which have raced well all season.
“I do have the imported horses Hathras and Award Season which showed a lot since they have come to me.
“The other one that I have high hopes for is Express Power. She is showing good staying potential and hopefully she can measure up in better grade next season.”
Lees also has another imported galloper in Salon Soldier which has just entered his yard from quarantine.
Salon Soldier, which had good form in Germany, is qualified for the Caulfield Cup.
“I am hoping he can measure up for a cups preparation in Melbourne,” Lees said. “He has gone into work, so his progress will determine our program with him. But I can say he is a lovely type.”
■ Training four winners on the one program does occur, but Kris Lees took that rare feat to a new level this week.
At Scone on Monday Lees had four winners, each ridden by a different jockey.
“I used a couple of apprentices because of their claim and I also had a couple of the usual suspects to ride winners for me,” he said. “It was simply a case of trying to get the right rider to give each horse the best chance.”
The Lees quadrella was: Swanky Beau, ridden by Andrew Gibbons, in the 1300m maiden; Project Compassion, ridden by Dale Spriggs, in the 1400m handicap; Niobe, ridden by Yusuke Ichikawa, in the 1100m maiden; and Fine Bubbles, ridden by Taylor Marshall, in the 1300m class 1.
Those four winners enabled Lees to win the Scone trainers’ premiership by one from Paul Messara.
Lees kept the theme of using different jockeys the next day when at Port Macquarie he scored with Beaufort Gyre, ridden by Shane Arnold.
■ Newcastle trainer Darren Smith hopes a huge drop in class will enable dual group 1 winner Atomic Force to race back into form tomorrow.
Atomic Force, which has won the group 1 Galaxy at Randwick and the group 1 Railway Stakes in New Zealand, will carry 60 kilos after the three-kilo claim for Lester Grace.
Atomic Force runs in the 1100m benchmark 95 at Rosehill.
“Sure he has a huge weight, but I will say the horse is going good,” Smith said.
“He is bright and ready to go so I am expecting a bold showing from him.”
Smith will run Excellent Point and The Gallows in race three over 1200m.
“Excellent Point is working really well and The Gallows has been hampered by wet tracks,” he said.
“Oakfield Comet is nearing peak fitness after two good runs from a spell.”
■ Master Broadmeadow trainer Paul Perry expects a much-improved showing from his imported stayer Ghost Protocol tomorrow.
Ghost Protocol, which won twice in England, runs in the 2000m handicap at Rosehill.
Ghost Protocol was showing promise before he failed on a bog track over 1900m on July 11.
“The tempo of the race meant horses had to be on the pace, and he was back in the ruck and just didn’t handle the really wet track,” Perry said. “The way he is looking I am expecting him to go much better. I think he has shown so far in Australia he might turn out a fair staying type.”
Perry has Wouldnt It Be Nice in the two-year-old.
“He has to take on the top weight (Bull Point) which beat him home last start,” Perry said. “But Wouldnt It Be Nice showed last start he can match it with the better type at this time of year.”
■ The Scone jockey’s title was shared by Dale Spriggs and Robert Thompson.
■ Newcastle’s cups prospect Hathras started on the long road to the Melbourne spring at Broadmeadow on Tuesday.
The former German stayer finished fourth in an open barrier trial at Broadmeadow.
Hathras was ridden by top Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons.
“He gave me a good feel and it looks like he will come back better than in his first preparation in Australia,” Gibbons said.
Kris Lees is looking to the listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 31 as an immediate goal then on to the group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on his home track on September 19.
■ Gosford Race Club chief executive officer James Heddo hasn’t had to look too far to find a winner.
His daughter, Taryn played in the NSW under-18 women’s cricket team which won the national title in January.
Last month, 16-year-old Taryn, an opening bowler, was named in the Australian under-18 talent squad.
This week she was awarded a Basil Sellers Cricket Scholarship presented to support the development of players aged 16 to 19.
■ There is an interesting and very different battle going on for the Cessnock trainers’ premiership.
The final meeting for the season at Cessnock will be staged on Monday.
Cessnock’s Jeremy Sylvester is on seven wins, as is Kris Lees, with Paul Perry the nearest chaser on five wins.
Sylvester is also the manager of Ellalong Farm, where horses are spelled and pre-trained. The establishment is owned by Kris Lees.
So Sylvester, who does not have a runner, would have to hope that his employer, who has four runners, does not get a winner.
■ In the jockeys’ title race at Cessnock, Robert Thompson is of course panels of fencing ahead of his rivals.
Thompson has clinched the title with his 12 wins, well clear of Dale Spriggs and Greg Ryan, who are both on five victories.
■ They say nothing improves a horse’s form more than an enthusiastic owner. That may be the case with promising Newcastle filly Fine Bubbles.
Fine Bubbles made it two wins and four placings from just nine starts with a good win at Scone on Monday.
She is raced by good mates and well-known Newcastle businessmen Ray Robinson, Ian Haxton and Allan Cox along with Yarraman Park Stud principal Arthur Mitchell, Sydney race tipster Ron Dufficy and trainer Kris Lees.
While the celebrations were in full flight after the win, the future of Fine Bubbles just kept getting bigger.
“It was only a win at Scone, but by the time we were finished celebrating Allan Cox wasn’t worried about the Melbourne Cup – he reckoned she could win the Davis Cup,” Robinson said.
■ Highly promising Wyong galloper The Bodyguard has been sold to Hong Kong.
He goes into quarantine today before heading overseas.
The Bodyguard was trained by Tracey Bartley when he bolted in on debut on his home track on July 4.
The Bodyguard was ridden by Nash Rawiller and was never going to be beaten in the 1200m maiden as a $2.10 favourite.
On the same day, Rawiller rode Curfew, which won by over six lengths in a maiden.
Trained by Darren Smith at Broadmeadow, Curfew was narrowly beaten at Wyong yesterday.
Curfew was an odds-on favourite but did not get an easy run and despite trying hard in the straight was just beaten.