Lees hoping blinkers can spark Itz Lily to return to winning form

Thursday, July 30, 2020: KRIS Lees has resorted to blinkers in the hope it will stimulate Itz Lily to return to winning form at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Itz Lily winning the Bradley Photographers (Bm74)
Itz Lily winning the Bradley Photographers (Bm74) Picture: Racing and Sports

Stable apprentice Louise Day, fresh off a breakthrough city treble at Warwick Farm yesterday and another winner at Hawkesbury today, partners the four-year-old in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m).

Day's valuable 3kg claim lessens Itz Lily's weight to 54kg, and the mare has come up with the rails barrier on a track which improved to a "Heavy 9" rating today.

Itz Lily  has raced five times this preparation without regaining her good three-year-old form of last winter when she finished fourth in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben and then scored over 1800m on heavy ground at Randwick.

However, she has been plagued by wide draws in four of those five runs, and managed a minor placing second up over 1550m on the Kensington track in May.

At her last start, Itz Lily finished sixth (beaten seven lengths) to Le Lude on the Kensington circuit in a similar race to what she contests on Saturday.

"I'm trying something different with Itz Lily," Lees said. "Hopefully the blinkers will switch her on."

Lees has three other Randwick acceptors, but Chalmers will be an absentee from the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m).

However, he will start Syncline (Brenton Avdulla) in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1300m), and Stella Sea Sun (Louise Day) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m).

Syncline is unbeaten at both starts this time in work since being gelded – at Taree and Hawkesbury – and his trainer is confident he can make the jump to city grade.

He withdrew him from a Warwick Farm assignment yesterday, and doesn't consider Saturday's race is any stronger.

"Syncline struck a heavy track when he led throughout in a Class 1 Handicap (1300m) on heavy ground at Hawkesbury on July 12, and has trained on well," Lees said.

"Stella Sea Sun likes Randwick and wet ground, and Louise's claim will be very helpful.

"She just needs a bit of luck to be right in the finish."

. Lees has withdrawn first-upper Snitzari from a 3YO Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday because of an outside draw, but still will have a number of representatives at the meeting.

He runs Mawaany Machine (apprentice Adin Thompson) and High Opinion (Andrew Mallyon) in the Benchmark 90 Handicap (2200m), and expects both to run well.

"Mawaany Machine races well in Queensland and will get 2kg off his back with the claim, whilst High Opinion is in really good form," Lees said.

He will make a three-pronged attack on the NMW Handicap (1200m) for fillies and mares with Bubbles Ball (apprentice Jackson Murphy), Kedah (Sean Cormack) and Magnolia Power (Larry Cassidy).

"Bubbles Ball looks very well placed first-up with 54kg after the claim, whilst Kedah also will be very competitive from the inside barrier if she runs up to her excellent trial win on the Beaumont track 10 days ago," Lees said.

"Magnolia Power wasn't far away in a midweek event at Doomben last time, but needs to bring her best form going to a Saturday race."

. It has been another successful season for Lees, who goes into tomorrow's season finale at Wyong with 206 overall winners, 191 of them which will provide him with the title of the State's premiership winning trainer.

He has three Wyong runners; Hard Lady (Brenton Avdulla) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m), and both Blazing Sunrise (Avdulla) and Bedivere (Andrew Gibbons) in the Conditional Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m).

He considers Blazing Sunrise, narrowly beaten under 60.5kg when resuming at Newcastle on July 7, as his best prospect.

Racing and Sports