Kris Lees was eyeing a dual shot at the group 1 Thousand Guineas with new addition El Dorado Dreaming after Smart Melody firmed as favourite on a memorable day for the Newcastle stable.
Smart Melody blitzed her rivals by 1 ½ lengths at Flemington in the listed Cap D'Antibes Stakes (1100m) on Saturday before fellow gun three-year-old filly Miss Fabulass did likewise in the group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Three-time group 1 winner Le Romain was also impressive for Lees, putting out a challenge to Winx in the George Main Stakes (1600m) before the champion kicked clear by four lengths to claim her 20th group 1 and 27th consecutive race.
The scratching of El Dorado Dreaming from the Tea Rose late on Friday was a disappointment for Lees, who took over the training of the filly and fellow group 1 winner In Her Time from the suspended Ben Smith last Wednesday. A swab taken from El Dorado Dreaming during a raid on Tuesday returned an irregularity and stewards were unable to gain another sample on Friday.
Given the late attempt, El Dorado Dreaming is expected to be cleared to return for a trial at Newcastle on Wednesday. Five other results from swabs, including from In Her Time, are expected back Monday.
El Dorado Dreaming is nominated for Saturday’s Golden Rose and the September 29 Flight Stakes in Sydney but the missed run will change plans, possibly to the Thousand Guineas prelude and main event at Caulfield.
“We’ll have an alternative route,” Lees said. “I just want to see her trial before I lock anything in.”
The possible scenario will put El Dorado Dreaming on a collision course with Smart Melody, which is a clear $4.60 TAB favourite for the October 13 Guineas after making it four wins from four starts on Saturday. The $2.25 favourite powered clear of Music Bay ($9) down the Flemington straight and now heads to the group 2 prelude.
“It was really good to see her so strong through the line,” Lees told Sky Sports Radio on Sunday. "She'd never been further than 1100 metres but the way she reacted late in the race and was really quite dominant, it holds us in good stead given we’re going to 1400 in a fortnight.”
At Randwick, Miss Fabulass bounced back from a disappointing sixth in the Furious Stakes to scorch home after a weaving run through the pack under Kerrin McEvoy. The Frankel filly is now a $3.50 favourite for the group 1 Flight Stakes.
Lees said it was emotional to see the daughter of Samantha Miss, which he trained to three group 1 wins, shine.
“We were very honoured when she turned up, being by Frankel out of probably the best horse I’ve trained, and then to see her win a group 2 race her mother did win 10 years ago .. it was certainly a little bit emotional,” Lees said.
Lees said Le Romain “couldn’t have run any better”. The six-year-old remains on the radar of Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, who are the only Everest slot-holders yet to declare their runner.
The Epsom Handicap and Everest consolation appear Le Romain’s likely targets.
“He’ll competitive in anything he goes in, we’ll see what happens later in the week,” Lees said.
As for the chances of one his three-year-olds gaining the Everest slot, Lees said: “There’s obviously only one spot left and next week the Golden Rose could toss something up, that’s why I think they are waiting until then.”
Lees has favourite Graff and possibly Gem Song headed to the Golden Rose.
“Gem Song is a chance, we’ll decide after he gallops on Tuesday, and it’s also if he makes the field,” Lees said.
He said another exciting three-year-old, Reginae, was headed to Melbourne.
AAP reports Saturday: John Singleton-owned Miss Fabulass has shown her multi-million-dollar pedigree to claim a maiden win in Group company at Randwick.
Sent out at $10 after a disappointing sixth a fortnight ago, the well-bred filly bounced back to shoot through a gap at the 150m mark and claim victory in the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) by 1-1/2 lengths from Fiesta ($4.80 fav).
Trainer Kris Lees said it was always the plan for jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride her quieter after being on the pace last start.
"He had plenty of horse underneath him," Lees said.
"They weren't going that quick but he just looked for a bit of room and she really let fly."
"We know she can do that once or twice a week at home."
The three-year-old is the fourth foal out of Samantha Miss who Lees trained to win the four legs of the Princess series which culminates in the Group One Flight Stakes in two weeks.
She went on to run third in the Cox Plate as a three-year-old before winning the VRC Oaks.
After she retired, Singleton paid $3.85 million for Samantha Miss.
He sent her to England to be served by unbeaten champion Frankel to southern hemisphere time with Miss Fabulass the result.
"She has the brilliance of her mum," Lees said.
"She just hasn't got the race sense, but it's coming."
Her jockey Kerrin McEvoy is confident the filly will run the 1600m of the Flight.
"She's obviously untried at the mile, but if we can just get her to switch off she is going to run it out really strong and be really hard to beat in that race," he said.
"The best is yet to come still. She's an exciting filly to be a part of for sure."
Brenton Avdulla sacrificed a full book of rides in Sydney to partner a three-year-old filly he regards as pretty special.
Smart Melody lived up to Avdulla's lofty expectations taking out the Listed Cap D'Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on Saturday.
A heavily backed favourite firming from $2.80 into $2.25, Smart Melody scored a 1-1/2 length win over Music Bay ($9) with Lady Pluck ($71) 1-1/4 lengths away third.
The Kris Lees-trained filly is now unbeaten in four starts after making a winning debut at Newcastle in June.
Avdulla won this year's Golden Slipper on Estijaab and gave Smart Melody a glowing report after winning aboard the filly at Canterbury at her second start.
"I rode her as a late two-year-old, which can be a bit different as they're more seasoned and educated, but the way she destroyed her rivals at Canterbury I thought she was pretty smart," Avdulla said.
"Even though she beat midweek, provincial horses she did it off a standing start in inferior ground.
"I've sacrificed a lot of rides in Sydney to come down and ride her today, so I'm keen to stay aboard."
Avdulla isn't sure how far Smart Melody will stretch out but said the filly was likely to get her chance at 1400m in the Thousand Guineas Prelude on September 30 ahead of the Thousand Guineas on October 13.