Lees heading for a double win

Grafton Cup last week, and perhaps the Rockhampton Cup this week?

Kris Lees has never had a runner at Rockhampton, but has entered two horses for the Central Queensland city's feature races to be run at Callaghan Park on Friday.

Trainer : KRIS LEES
Trainer : KRIS LEES  Picture: Racing and Sports

Recent Doomben runner-up Top Prospect  is amongst 24 entries for the $85,000 Rockhampton Cup (1600m), and there are also 24 nominated for the $65,000 Rockhampton Newmarket (1200m), for which Tawfiq Boy is an entrant.

Both races are run under Quality conditions.

Top Prospect
Top Prospect Picture: Trish Dunell

Lees landed last Thursday's $200,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) with Sixties Groove, raced by an Australian Bloodstock syndicate – as are Top Prospect and Tawfiq Boy.

He has also entered both horses for Saturday's metropolitan meeting at Ipswich; Top Prospect in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1666m) and Tawfiq Boy in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m).

"I'll have a look at the weights for both meetings tomorrow before making a decision on which way we go," Lees said this afternoon.

"At this stage, they will probably run at Ipswich, but I'm certainly considering the Rockhampton races."

Top Prospect, a six-year-old by Swiss Ace, won a Benchmark 76 Handicap (1400m) on the Kensington track on March 4 at the beginning of this preparation.

At his last start, he was narrowly beaten by Sydney-trained Milk Man in a Benchmark 90 Handicap (1615m) at Doomben on June 20 on a "Heavy 8" surface.

Top Prospect is also an entrant for the Benchmark 76 Handicap (1550m) at Saturday's Kensington meeting. He has been given 62kg topweight.

Tawfiq Boy has won eight of his 38 starts and been placed on 11 occasions. Also a six-year-old, he has raced twice during his current Queensland campaign, and won a 1000m Gold Coast barrier trial on June 30.

Stablemate Graff missed contesting last Wednesday's $200,000 Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton when he sustained an injury, and was expected to line up in Saturday's $85,000 Eye Liner Stakes (1200m) at Ipswich, but isn't amongst the entries.

"The injury hasn't responded as well as I would have hoped, so we'll bring him home and look ahead to the spring," Lees said.

. Lees' success with odds-on favorite Jaja Chaboogie, following on from victories with Korcho at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday and Syncline at Hawkesbury yesterday, has lifted him to within two of a career tally of 2000 winners.

With 186 winners, he leads the State premiership ahead of Chris Waller (173.5), and is a huge leader in the NSW country premiership with 115 wins.

For the second season on end, Lees has trained more than 200 winners. He racked up 249 last year and Jaja Chaboogie was his 208th so far this season.

. McKell Cup winner Frankely Awesome missed last week's Grafton Cup because of an outside draw, and at this stage will run at the Kensington meeting on Saturday, along with stablemates High Opinion and Mawaany Machine, in a Benchmark 94 Handicap (1800m).

Nominations for that race have been extended until 11am tomorrow.

Witherspoon (62.5kg topweight) will attempt a city hat-trick in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m).

The Exceed and Excel mare has revelled in heavy ground to outpace her rivals in 1000m races on the main track at Royal Randwick at her last two starts, and will find similar conditions again with more rain forecast in Sydney this week.

Racing and Sports