Never Talk Out To Give Kris Lees More Group1 Laurels

Kris Lees admits he never envisaged Never Talk becoming a Group 1 contender when he sent her to Tamworth for her debut in late May last year.

NEVER TALK winning the Ranvet (Bm78)
NEVER TALK winning the Ranvet (Bm78) Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

The No Nay Never filly made a winning start to her career in a 2YO Handicap (1000m) at $17 (stablemate Triple Ace started favorite and ran third before subsequently winning four on the trot), then won her next three, including a Royal Randwick victory on Melbourne Cup day in early November at her first city appearance.

Never Talk 's unlucky last-start close second to Every Rose in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight ago confirmed her potential, and provides her trainer with a real chance of capturing his 16th Group 1 triumph in tomorrow's $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at the same track.

"I certainly didn't think that we would be lining up in a Group 1 not quite nine months after winning that race at Tamworth," Lees said this morning.

"They either go one way or the other, and this filly has just kept on improving.

"I began to think we had a serious filly on our hands when she won impressively on the Kensington track on January 2.

"Admittedly, things have gone our way with her liking for wet ground, but she gets those conditions again tomorrow.

"I've been pleased with how Never Talk has trained on since the Light Fingers and, from a better draw tomorrow, there's no reason to expect she won't run very well again."

The now retired mare In Her Time was Lees' latest Group 1 winner in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington two years ago.

Never Talk figured prominently in the stewards' report after her narrow Light Fingers defeat when she drew awkwardly, and had trouble securing clear running at a vital stage in the straight.

Jason Collett rode the three-year-old then for the first time, and stays with her tomorrow.

Whilst Lees is chasing another Group 1 success, he is no stranger to winning the Surround, having landed the feature event for three-year-old fillies in 2014 at Warwick Farm with $26 chance Thump (Jim Cassidy), and also finished third that year with subsequent multiple Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina ($51).

Whilst Never Talk will be Lees' sole Randwick representative, he is also hoping for a Flemington victory with The Bopper, who races for similar prizemoney as the Surround in the Inglis Dash (1100m).

And he is pinning his hopes on Melbourne premiership pacesetter Jamie Kah, who partners the three-year-old for the first time.

"The Bopper has drawn 13 in a field of 14 on the straight track, and it shouldn't be a problem as they often head toward the outside in the straight races," Lees said.

"I'll leave it up to Jamie. No one can question the way she is riding."

Lees has put blinkers on The Bopper since his failure in the $1m Inglis Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on February 6, and is happy with how he has handled the new gear in work at home before floated to Melbourne on Wednesday evening.

"He has done well since the Randwick race and settled in well since arriving. I feel using his pace and coming back to 1100m tomorrow will be to his advantage."

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