Newcastle pair Kris Lees and Aaron Bullock, both considered certain to reach career milestones before the end of the season, will combine with two favourites at Saturday’s Newcastle race meeting.
Lees trained 161 ½ winners last season and that was his best in 14 years of training. The 2017-18 season comes to an end on July 31 and he has already prepared 140 ½ winners.
Bullock’s best was also last season when he steered home 65 winners. He has ridden 85 winners in 2017-18 and the Singleton boy said recently that if he reached the century it would be the highlight of his career.
Lees has accepted with seven of his team at Newcastle and Bullock will be aboard Rebel Cry (race one) and Brabinger (race three) and both will be favourite.
He also rides Banner Season for Lees in race seven and the horse is close to a win.
Lees said on Thursday that Rebel Cry, Brabinger and So You Merge to be ridden by Andrew Gibbons in race seven are his best chances.
“Rebel Cry is a very nice filly with great scope,” Lees said.
“I was going to run her at last week’s Scone Carnival but she drew a wide barrier, so I scratched.
“Not many horses win a Maiden then a Class 2 next start but I have a good opinion of Rebel Cry and I believe she can do it.
“Brabinger was very good winning on debut at Newcastle and he has trained on well.
“He is a full brother to the Cox Plate Winner Shamus Award, and this horse will be a miler later in his career. He will be very hard to beat.
“So You Merge is a promising stayer in form and she did finish second to the Queensland Oaks favourite at this track a couple of weeks back.
“Her mother won an Adelaide Cup and this mare will run 2400 eventually.
“My other horse in the same race, Banner Season will have the blinkers on and don’t underestimate him.
“My best three are Rebel Cry, Brabinger and So You Merge.”
Million-dollar colt King returns to Newcastle after a brilliant breakthrough win on the same track on May 8.
King and his stablemate California Surprise are the only pair in the 900-metre, two-year-old Handicap to have won a race.
King raced away to beat a much stronger field here last start and he will be favourite to make it back-to-back wins.
Warwick Farm filly Verlan an eye-catching second behind Brabinger on this track on April 28 should atone in the 1400-metre Maiden Plate. The three-year-old came from last on the turn and she made up many lengths in a stronger field than Saturday’s.
The longer trip on Saturday is in her favour.
Home Win which caused an upset when he ran down favourite Metamorphic to win a Newcastle Maiden on April 28 can win again on Saturday.
A two-year-old Home Win stormed home to win easily last start and the runner up bolted in at Scone last Friday.
Home Win will contest the 1500 metre Benchmark 60 Handicap.