Wet track no worry for Lees pair

Wandabaa and Never Talk will line up for Kris Lees in the Hawkesbury Crown.

WANDABAA. Picture: Racing and Sports

Trainer Kris Lees is warming to his chances of claiming a first win in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Crown despite one of his runners drawing an outside gate. 

The leading Newcastle trainer will saddle up ultra-consistent mare Wandabaa and the talented Never Talk, who will have to overcome the second outside gate in the 14-horse field. 

The latter was one of the fancied runners for the Provincial-Midway Championships last start after scoring an impressive win in a Newcastle qualifying heat and made late headway to finish sixth to stablemate Kinloch. 

"She missed the start and was never in the race really the other day," Lees said. 

"But she is always capable on her day." 

Never Talk is a multiple black-type placegetter and finished fourth in the Group 1 Surround Stakes as a three-year-old. 

She possesses a booming finish and relishes rain-affected ground and if the track is playing right, Lees says her draw might not be a disadvantage. 

"It mightn't be the worst spot. She will be strong late coming down the middle of the track," he said. 

Wandabaa is equally adept in the wet and will be looking for her second Group win of the campaign after taking out the Newcastle Newmarket three starts ago. 

She subsequently finished sixth in the Coolmore Classic before a last-start fourth in the Sapphire Stakes and like Never Talk, is a backmarker who will appreciate a solid tempo. 

"She has won a stakes race this prep, which is vital for her," Lees said. 

"She had to make a sustained run the other day (in the Sapphire Stakes) and she was exposed the whole way, which probably just found her out a little bit late. 

"But she is going well. She is always in the mix." 

Both mares are being kept safe in betting with Wandabaa at $6.50 and Never Talk at $8 with the Chris Waller-trained Brookspire holding market sway as a $3.40 favourite. 

Racing and Sports