SUGAR Bella stands as second favourite for next month’s $500,000 Provincial Championship Final but Newcastle trainer Kris Lees says the exciting four-year-old is no certainty to contest the series – even if she doesn’t win on Saturday.
A winner of all three starts in town since coming to the Lees stable, Sugar Bella was the $3.10 TAB Fixed Odds favourite on Friday for the group 3 Wenona Girl Quality (1200m) at Randwick.
It will be the Not A Single Doubt mare’s first crack at black-type company and victory will make her ineligible for the provincial series, which has its second qualifier on Saturday at Hawkesbury. Lees has Reach For Heaven, Bastia, Clevanicc and Hallelujah Boy in the $150,000 heat.
Stablemate Just Dreaming qualified last week at Wyong and was the $4.60 favourite for the April 14 decider, ahead of Sugar Bella ($6).
Lees said Sugar Bella was a black-type winner in waiting but Saturday’s opposition was a big jump in class.
He said a defeat would not automatically mean a focus on the provincial qualifiers, which continue at Gosford, Kembla Grange and Newcastle the next three Saturdays.
“It depends, the owner might want to keep racing in stronger company, so we’ll just take it a run at a time,” Lees said.
Sugar Bella could be part of a big day for Lees at Randwick, where Clearly Innocent ($4.80) and Invincible Gem ($6.50) are among top hopes in the group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
He also has Singing ($10) on the return from a cardiac arrhythmia in the listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) and Karavali ($6.50) in the group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m)
Meanwhile, Lees’ exciting two-year-old Miss Fabulass will not race again this autumn after having a high temperature this week. The Frankel-Samantha Miss filly rocketed home from last for a close second on debut at Rosehill last week, raising hopes of a campaign at the Golden Slipper and ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Newcastle trainer Ben Smith also lost an autumn contender this week when provincial championships hopeful Floki suffered a leg injured.