Lees hopes Zaniah will overcome the awkward draw at Rosehill

Kris Lees is banking on Zaniah getting the “right run” from an awkward draw to bounce back into the winning list at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.

Jockey : BRENTON AVDULLA
Jockey : BRENTON AVDULLA Picture: Racing and Sports

Brenton Avdulla again partners the New Zealand owned mare, who has barrier nine in a field of 11 in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m).

Zaniah  had a "flashing light" on her on resumption when she almost ran down stablemate Witherspoon in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m) for three-year-olds and upwards at Royal Randwick on June 20.

She rises from 54.5kg to 58kg tomorrow, but goes back to racing against her own sex.

Lees has done a tremendous job with Zaniah, who races in the same colours as her now retired thrice Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina.

The Zoustar four-year-old's six Australian starts have yielded three wins and three placings.

"Zaniah's draw tomorrow isn't good, and we'll again ride her off the speed," Lees said this morning.

"If she can get the right run, I'm sure she will be strong at the finish.

"She has trained on really well since her Randwick run. I'm very pleased with her."

Zaniah is one of six starters for Lees at the Rosehill meeting.

He has dual representatives – imports My Swashbuckler  (Glen Boss) and Korcho (Nash Rawiller) - in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m) and says there isn't a lot between them in contrast to current market opinion.

"Both horses are going well," Lees said.

"My Swashbuckler is probably the sharper of the two, but I'm expecting both of them to run well."

Lees also had dual acceptors in the 2YO Handicap (1100m), but has decided not to start Redoute's Image.

He will rely on Miss Canada (Avdulla), who resumes after three city placings, which included a second to the talented Doubtland on the Kensington track in March, at her first two campaigns.

"Miss Canada is going well, but this is a pretty strong race," he said.

Lees has given his apprentice Louise Day a splendid opportunity to continue her Sydney momentum with the mounts on last start winners Darleb and Stella Sea Sun.

Darleb tackles the 3YO Benchmark 74 Handicap (1500m), and Stella Sea Sun lines up in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m) for four-year-olds and upwards.

Day has ridden six city winners at the back end of the current season, and her 3kg claim will be invaluable to the stablemates.

"Darleb is getting toward the end of his campaign, and this will most likely be his last run before going for a break," Lees said.

"He is in great form, and deserves his chance to crack it for a Saturday win in town.

"But we are going to need some luck from his outside draw (11 in a field of 11).

"Stella Sea Sun  was excellent winning first-up at Randwick and has trained on strongly.

"Louise's claim means that although she is not solely against her own sex this time, she comes down 2.5kg."


Racing and Sports