Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, on target for a record-breaking season, can round off another successful week when he saddles up four of his team on his home track on Saturday.
Lees has trained four winners this week, taking his tally after just over three months of the season to 45.
The Novocastrian’s best season in 12 years of training was in 2014-2015 when he trained 120 winners. He now sits third in the NSW trainers premiership behind Chris Waller and John O’Shea.
On the Beaumont track on Saturday his four runners are Strike For Victory (race 3), Biscuit Time (race 4), Unbridled Power (race 5) and Oh So Assertive (race 7).
Strike For Victory was formerly trained in Tasmania, where she won a couple of barrier trials but never had a start in a race. The filly has had three starts for Lees for an easy win at Kempsey and two unlucky placings.
Biscuit Time is a three-year-old raced by a group including golf legend Jack Newton and son Clint. The gelding displayed good speed on debut when runner-up to the smart My Maker at Scone recently.
Unbridled Power has raced three times for two placings, one of which was on the Beaumont track last start. The filly meets an inferior field on Saturday.
Oh So Assertive has disappointed since joining the stable from Victoria, but her last-start second at Scone was an improvement.
“Biscuit Time will make into a nice horse. He will need luck from his outside draw on Saturday, but he has good speed,” Lees said on Friday. “He is my best chance on Saturday.
“Strike For Victory was in Tasmania but had barrier issues and didn’t race. My foreman, Mal Ollerton, has done a lot of work with her in the barriers and she is racing well, but it’s a step up in grade for her on Saturday.
“Unbridled Power is a nice filly but a work in progress. She will run forward and has a good chance. Oh So Assertive is in a tough race, but she is a rough hope.”
As is the norm, Godolphin has a couple of promising three-year-olds starting as favourites on Saturday.
Lonhro colt Emptor he made his debut at Newcastle three weeks ago and won despite a tough run three wide with no cover. The extra trip on Saturday is ideal.
Fanfaron was a beaten odds-on favourite at the last Newcastle meeting but expect a big improvement on Saturday. He looked in need of the run first up and had very good metropolitan form last preparation.
Hawkesbury-trained Go Benny has won his past two Newcastle starts with Robert Thompson aboard, but Grant Buckley hops aboard for Saturday’s clash with in-form Thewayweare in the last.