Lees Spreads His Staying Talent

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has spread his staying talent this weekend in a bid to land feature races at Ipswich and Rosehill.

Lees has sent High Opinion (Larry Cassidy) to Queensland to tackle the Ipswich Cup while the import Saunter Boy (Jason Collett) is an interesting runner in the Listed Winter Cup at Rosehill.

Much travelled High Opinion will be the trainer’s first representative in the Ipswich Cup and stable spokesman Lucas Miller considers the tight circuit will suit the gelding.

“He didn’t manage the 1 1⁄2 m of the McKell Cup at Rosehill at his last start,” Miller said.

“But his previous form was good with four consecutive placings, including a close second to Abdon in the Wagga Cup.

“This isn’t the strongest Ipswich Cup by any measures. Coming back in distance is in High Opinion’s favour, and he races up on the speed, so he should be suited by the tight track.”

High Opinion’s rider Larry Cassidy is no stranger to Ipswich Cup success as he scored on Portland Singa in 2004 and Our Lukas in 2009.

Saunter Boy was a winner in both England and France with the 6YO scoring over 1 1⁄2 m at Newmarket in August last year with 61.5kg.

At his only Australian start he finished fourth to The Candy Man in a Class 5 Plate (1800m) on a heavy surface at the Gold Coast on May 18.

“He will need every bit of the 1 1⁄2 m and will relish it,” Miller said. “The gap between races won’t be a concern, and we’re expecting a good run from him.

“His work has been very sound, he handles all types of ground and the 1 1⁄2 m will be more to his liking.”

Lees, who has had only a handful of runners at the Ipswich Cup meeting for one win in a support race last year, also has Pecans (Blake Shinn) and Intrinsic (Luke Tarrant) in the $125,000 Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m).

The stable is also expecting a good performance from Pecans.

“She held her ground nicely in the straight at Randwick at her first run for us and is a smart mare at her best,” Miller said.

“A likely fast tempo in this race on Saturday will suit her.”

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