Newcastle’s Sense Of Occasion gave Kris Lees his 13th group 1 win and took his earnings in 11 runs for the Broadmeadow trainer to just under $1.4 million with a commanding Doomben Cup (2000 metres) victory on a record-breaking day for the stable on Saturday.
The six-year-old gelding, owned by Newcastle connections Anthony Hall, Larry Curtis, Elaine Wragge, Derek Hall, David Blunden, Roddy Scott and Stephen Bilich, overcame the widest gate and thrived in the heavy going with Corey Brown aboard to cruise down the outside and win by 1.3 lengths.
“We were a little concerned with the alley but I suppose the track, when it started to break up, it probably negated that a little,” Lees said. “I thought Corey waited and timed his run to perfection and I’m really happy for the owners. Great effort.
“On paper, it didn’t look a lot of tempo but you often get the speed here and it played into his hands perfectly.”
Brown kept Sense Of Occasion at the back of the pack before he gathered up the field from the 200m mark.
Brown helped Lees to his first group 1, the 2004 The Metropolitan at Randwick with County Tyrone. He also piloted County Tyrone to the 2002 Queensland Derby, which was the 20th and last group 1 victory for Lees’ late father, Max.
“They’ve always been good to me, the Lees,” Brown said.
“The support since I've been back has been great, so it’s great to repay them with a group 1.”
As Lees told the Herald on Friday, the race was Sense Of Occasion’s last this preparation.
“That might do him. He’s had a really good preparation. We’ll put him away and set him for the spring,” he said post-race.
With the $416,000 claimed on Saturday, Sense Of Occasion has now won $1,691,020 in 34 starts, with eight wins. Almost $1.4 million of that has come in less than a year spent with Lees.
Earlier Saturday, Kandy and Rhymes saluted at Newcastle to take Lees past his record for most wins nationwide in a season. Sense Of Occasion, then Look And Listen at Port Macquarie on Sunday, made it 121 with more than two months left.