OWNER Peter Brown is confident In Her Time will carry on to the $13 million The Everest seamlessly with new trainer Kris Lees after transferring from the suspended Ben Smith.
The Bar Beach owner-breeder was working overtime on Tuesday to ensure his star mare remained in the October 13 1200-metre race at Randwick following the shock suspension of Smith, who was raided by Racing NSW stewards that morning.
Smith is banned indefinitely after being charged with refusing to give evidence and providing false evidence at the raid, which came after two of his horses returned positive swabs for a prohibited substance.
The drama led to speculation In Her Time could lose the TAB's slot in The Everest but Brown moved quickly to confirm support and find a new trainer.
Lees, who has stables near Smith’s at Newcastle Racecourse, was announced as the trainer of In Her Time and fellow group 1 winner El Dorado Dreaming on Wednesday morning. Both were not horses to return a positive swab. Smith’s entire stable was tested on Tuesday but Brown was already confident his mare would be cleared.
“She's been tested many, many, many times and the procedure of the people blood testing her yesterday was that they tested every horse in the stable,” Brown said. “It was just dotting their i's and crossing their t's, but she is now seven days away from a trial, so if there was anything with her, her blood would be completely changed by the time she went to nominate or race or anything else.
“Ben assures me there’s nothing. She’s just been exercised and doing standard work. He said she’ll be fine and we’ll make sure she remains fine in Kris’s care.”
Lees foreman Cameren Swan is also In Her Time’s trackwork rider, making the switch even easier.
As for the dramatic turn of events, Brown said “I’m just disappointed for everybody. I didn’t want this to happen.”
He said In Her Time’s Everest path would not change. She will have an exhibition gallop under Corey Brown at Newcastle on Friday after race two, trial at the track on Wednesday before resuming in the Premiere Stakes at Randwick on September 29. In Her Time won the race last year before taking out the Everest consolation.
Brown said he had “something like 15 phone calls” to stewards, TAB management and Racing NSW on Tuesday to clear the way for his horse.
“We all had to call a spade a spade and address the issue. None of us knew what was going on,” he said. “The management of TAB are all 100 per cent on holding In Her Time as their horse and the only thing that had to be done was to confirm where the horse was heading.
“Racing NSW had to ratify an amendment to the agreement to confirm the change of trainer. And because of our professional behaviour and the fact we were going to use a highly reputable trainer, a group 1 trainer like Kris Lees, they ratified it pretty much straight away. We’re right, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been confirmed by all parties that it’s all go.”