Lees and Schofield team up again in Carrington Stakes

Kris Lees and jockey Glyn Schofield almost brought off a Carrington Stakes upset four years ago when $31 outsider Prized Icon finished a close second to Lanciato.

SPECIAL REWARD winning the Fujitsu General Razor Sharp at Randwick in Australia.
SPECIAL REWARD winning the Fujitsu General Razor Sharp at Randwick in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

They team again at Royal Randwick on Saturday keen to go one better in the Listed $150,000 event – this time with Special Reward .

The former Western Australian sprinter has struck form again, winning the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on December 11 before following up with a close second to Prime Candidate in the Listed Christmas Classic (1200m) at a Canterbury night meeting on January 7.

Schofield partnered Special Reward in his Razor Sharp victory at $26, but wasn't available for the Canterbury meeting, and James McDonald substituted.

Special Reward meets Prime Candidate again (they are currently $6.50 joint second favorites behind 2020 Provincial Championships winner Through The Cracks, who chased the pair home in the Christmas Classic), this time on 2kg better terms.

"Special Reward has put two good runs together, and has trained on well since the Canterbury race," Lees said this morning.

"He should get the right run from a soft gate, and I expect him to race well again."

At his only 1400m start since joining Lees' team, Special Reward won the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket two years ago.

Lees has five Randwick acceptors, the others being Spellcatcher, Our Candidate, Lunakorn and Countofmontecristo.

Former Melbourne mare Lunakorn, raced by an Australian Bloodstock syndicate, is a new addition to the Newcastle stable, having not raced since last September.

Kerrin McEvoy will ride her in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), and she will race in a nose roll.

Whilst Lunakorn has won first-up previously, albeit in a 1200m Maiden at Pakenham nearly two years ago, her new trainer believes she will be better suited once she gets to 1400m.

Comeback stayer Our Candidate (Hugh Bowman in the Benchmark 88 Handicap, 2000m) is all the better for one run back since a lengthy break when seventh to Kirwan's Lane in a similar race over 1600m at Randwick on Boxing Day.

"I was happy with his performance considering that was his only run in the last two years," Lees said.

"He will take extra benefit from Saturday's race getting up to a more suitable distance, and appears to be coming up nicely."

Jason Collett rides Countofmontecristo in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m), with the former Singaporean gelding yet to be placed in eight local starts.

"He obviously needs to lift and has to carry 61.5kg, but this is the softest grade he has faced in quite a while," Lees said.

A decision will be made today whether Spellcatcher (Reece Jones) lines up at Randwick, chasing a hat-trick in the 3YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m), or goes to the Port Macquarie Showcase meeting tomorrow, where he has drawn the outside in a Benchmark 66 Handicap (1100m).

Spellcatcher, a lightly-raced three-year-old by Extreme Choice, has won at Newcastle and Scone since resuming.

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