Gem Song will attempt The Archer with Bullock on top

Aaron Bullock will ride Gem Song when the Newcastle sprinter tackles Queensland’s newest race, The Archer, at Rockhampton on May 7.

GEM SONG winning the Egroup Security Star Kingdom
GEM SONG winning the Egroup Security Star Kingdom Picture: Steve Hart

Kris Lees confirmed Bullock's booking only hours before the gelding embarked on an overnight float trip to his Gold Coast base to continue his preparation.

Carrying a purse of $440,000, The Archer will be run over 1300m at weight-for-age and is modelled on Sydney's The Everest concept.

Central Queensland Amateur Racing Club will host regional Queensland's richest race, and hopes to increase prizemoney to $500,000 next year.

The race's name comes from Mount Archer, which overlooks Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racetrack.

Gem Song , who races in the Australian Bloodstock colours combined with the Lees Racing orange cap, has won seven of his 23 starts.

He won the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) first-up at Newcastle on March 28 (the meeting was transferred from Rosehill Gardens) before finishing fourth to Kementari in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday.

Lees was disappointed Rustic Steel fared poorly when barriers were drawn for tomorrow's $200,000 Tamworth Cup (1400m), and instead will chase a city victory with him at Randwick on Saturday.

Brenton Avdulla will ride the gelding in Benchmark 88 Handicap (1300m), with Lees relying on stablemates Kinloch and Cristal Breeze in the Tamworth race.

"The Tamworth Cup would have been a nice race for Rustic Steel, but I'm sure he will run really well on Saturday," Lees said this afternoon.

Rustic Steel looked the winner at one stage in the straight before finishing a close fourth in the $500,000 Provincial-Midway Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 9.

Ventura Ocean (Sam Clipperton) and Ucalledit (Avdulla) are the stable's likely representatives in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m).

"I won't run Ventura Ocean if the track becomes very heavy again, whilst Ucalledit ran well when fourth on a heavy track at Canterbury on March 30 at his first run for us since arriving from New Zealand," Lees said.

Lees' other Randwick runners are Spanish Point (Benchmark 88 Handicap, 1800m), Think Free (F&M Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1400m), and Ting Tong (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1600m).

Tim Clark rides Spanish Point, Chad Schofield has the Think Free mount, and Kerrin McEvoy is aboard Ting Tong.

"Spanish Point  has been improved by two runs back and his latest in the 1500m Muswellbrook Cup was better than it may have appeared," Lees said.

"He is getting to a more suitable distance and can run well.

"Think Free is perhaps a bit outgraded, but likes Randwick and soft ground.

"Ting Tong is racing well and, whilst up in class, has no weight and has won on soft and heavy tracks.

"Though going to Saturday class in town, he is definitely capable of running well again."


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