Kris is optimistic with Mustajeer’s Caulfield Cup chances

Kris Lees says he is a “little optimistic” with roughie Mustajeer in Saturday’s $5m Caulfield Cup (2400m).

MUSTAJEER winning the Parramatta Cup
MUSTAJEER winning the Parramatta Cup Picture: Racing and Sports

Despite bypassing the race with The Metropolitan runner-up Mugatoo , Lees still will have two representatives in the feature Group 1 handicap.

Joining Mustajeer  (Billy Egan) is stablemate Raheen House (Daniel Moor), who was first emergency and secured a start when Aktau was a withdrawal this morning after pulling up with a problem after trackwork.

It was rather ironic as Aktau had drawn the coveted rails barrier and Raheen House the extreme outside (he will start from 18).

Market assessors think little of the leading Newcastle trainer's chances of winning his first Caulfield Cup, as Mustajeer is at $71 and Raheen House a $201 rank outsider in current betting.

But whilst Lees is hoping for some rain to assist Raheen House, he considers Mustajeer can run a better race than his odds suggest.

"Mustajeer is going better than his form might indicate," he said this afternoon.

"His last run at Randwick (when ninth to Caulfield Cup rival Mirage Dancer in The Metropolitan a fortnight ago) was an improvement, and his work since has been good.

"He has arrived safely in Melbourne.

"Mustajeer ran sixth in this race last year (after winning England's prestigious Ebor Handicap at York) at his first run for us after arriving from the UK, so he is not the roughest."

Mustajeer's performance on Saturday will determine whether connections press ahead to the Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.

"Raheen House 's chances clearly depend on the track condition," Lees said. "He needs rain to enhance his chances."

Stable foreman Cameren Swan is in Melbourne and will saddle both horses for their Cup assignments.

. Meanwhile, Lees has confirmed John Allen's booking for Mugatoo in Saturday week's $5m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

The classy import will get his first look at the tight Valley circuit when he gallops there on Saturday morning.

"Mugatoo will have a galloping companion, and it is important for him to get acquainted with the track," Lees said.

As with Mustajeer, Raheen House and recent overseas arrival Collide, Mugatoo is among the 65 first acceptors for the Melbourne Cup.

"You have to keep your options open," Lees said. "We'll see what happens in the Cox Plate before making any decision about the Cup."

Racing and Sports