Newcastle racing: Silver Melody on song at home in big day out for Kris Lees stable

Kris Lees and Robert Thompson.

Kris Lees and Robert Thompson.

Unwanted at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Silver Melody landed a sizeable plunge when she won Saturday’s 900-metre maiden plate at Newcastle Racecourse.

The grey filly did not attract a bid when presented in the sale ring so breeders Peter Orton and Newcastle businessman Allan Cox decided to race her. Orton owns Vinery Stud at Scone and his right-hand man, Adam White, also shares in the ownership of Silver Melody.

Kris Lees trains the two-year-old, which was on debut on Saturday after a recent quiet trial at Cessnock. Lees called on the evergreen Robert Thompson to ride her and stable followers snapped up the $8 on offer in some first markets. She was the only horse backed to beat $1.95 favourite Angiolini and firmed into $3.20.

Angiolini led by three lengths in the run to the home turn. Thompson had Silver Melody in second until the 200 metres, where she shot clear. She had to withstand a late charge from Watching, which came from last on the turn to almost steal the race out wide.

“She is a nice filly and will improve with that run under her belt,” Thompson said. “She got a bit tired late but she dashed when I let her go in the straight.”

It was one of five winners for Lees on Saturday across three meetings. Alfierous also won at Newcastle, Envy Of All saluted at Randwick and Princess Posh and Hallelujah Boy scored impressive victories at Doomben.

Lees has 178.5 wins for the season nationwide and he has wrapped up the Newcastle trainers’ premiership with only Tuesday’s meeting left. He has 30 winners on his home track, eight more than Peter and Paul Snowden.

Mitchell Bell has a 2.5-win lead in the jockeys’ title over Jeff Penza and Aaron Bullock. Thompson, Adrian Layt and apprentice Robbie Dolan had doubles at Newcastle on Saturday.

Thompson’s great strike rate with the Hawkes training partnership continued when he piloted Mascot in the opener, a 1400m maiden plate. The Chris Waller-trained Be Mindful ($2.05 fav) led and kicked clear at the top of the straight. Thompson had Mascot well placed in fifth to the home turn, where he made his move. Despite wanting to lay in, Mascot sprinted to the lead inside the 100m and won by a length.

“I was always confident during the race,” Thompson said. “The horse likes to chase and he let down really well at the 300.”

“It was good to see Mascot break through and he should draw confidence from the win.”