First-time blinkers are No Laughing Matter for the smart filly.

It’s uncommon for an important gear change especially when a young horse is lining up for a hat-trick.

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

But Kris Lees considers introducing blinkers can only benefit No Laughing Matter when she makes her Brisbane debut at Doomben tomorrow on the back of two recent victories at Taree.

Lees' Queensland jockey Andrew Mallyon will partner the Exosphere three-year-old when she takes on her own age and sex in the 3YO Fillies' Handicap (1200m).

Drawing the inside barrier against 10 rivals undoubtedly enhances her prospects.

No Laughing Matter has raced only six times, and has been in brilliant form at all three starts this preparation.

After a first-up 1200m second on her home track on November 24, she reeled off Taree wins over 1250m and 1300m on December 20 and January 4 respectively.

It was her latest narrow defeat of stablemate Siesta Key in a Benchmark 66 Handicap (1300m) which influenced Lees to bring blinkers into play.

"She seemed to be waiting for them that day," he explained this morning. "I have worked her in blinkers since, and hopefully they will help her focus better tomorrow."

No Laughing Matter 's three career wins have all been on rain-affected ground, and Doomben this morning was rated a "Soft 6".

Lees also runs Mystic Gem (Mallyon) in the 2YO Handicap (1050m) and Articus (Sean Cormack) in the Open Handicap (1600m).

Capitalist filly Mystic Gem, a $125,000 purchase for owner Edward Throsby at last year's Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale, makes her debut after being withdrawn from a Wyong assignment two days ago because of an awkward draw.

She finished a close second to Phases in a six-horse 845m trial at Wyong on January 7.

"It's hard to line up the Brisbane form, but she trialled nicely and I expect her to run well tomorrow from a good draw," Lees said.

"Articus has drawn the inside in the Open Handicap, but is struggling to regain form."

Talented stayer Our Candidate makes a keenly-awaited return in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick tomorrow, but his trainer is forecasting he will need the run after a lengthy layoff.

The now six-year-old hasn't raced since finishing third to stablemate Mugatoo in a similar race over the same distance at Randwick on January 25 last year.

He sustained a tendon injury and was also gelded during his enforced break.

Our Candidate won 2400m races in succession at Rosehill Gardens and Randwick in July and August 2019 before finishing third to Hush Writer in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) in September that year.

"So far so good with him and he has had two trials to help get him ready for his return," Lees said. "But I expect he will need this run."

Apprentice Louise Day's 2kg claim lessens the gelding's weight to 59.5kg, whilst Hugh Bowman partners Lees' other Randwick representative Game Of Thorns in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600m).


Racing and Sports