Kris Lees was pleased with the preparation and “perfect” draws for Smart Melody and El Dorado Dreaming for Saturday’s Thousand Guineas (1600m) on Tuesday.
The Newcastle trainer’s feat in gaining three Everest runners has overshadowed his strong chances of group 1 glory at Caulfield on the same day with Gooree Stud filly Smart Melody and group 1 ATC Sires Produce winner El Dorado Dreaming.
Smart Melody, an on-pace runner unbeaten in five starts, shortened slightly to be the $3 favourite with the TAB after drawing barrier two. El Dorado Dreaming, formerly with now suspended Newcastle trainer Ben Smith, was $7.50 after drawing seven of 15, which should suit her fast-finishing style.
Lees said the draws were perfect and both fillies “have pleased in their work and are in good order” this week.
Smart Melody won the Thousand Guineas Prelude by a length but tired late over 1400m, whereas El Dorado Dreaming finished strongly for third on debut for Lees and appears set for longer races.
Asked if there was much between the pair heading to a mile, Lees said “both are very talented fillies.”
James McDonald will ride Smart Melody, while Damian Lane reunites with El Dorado Dreaming.
Lees also has Gem Song ($21) in gate 11 in the $2 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
“He’s a knockout hope but The Autumn Sun looks to have a mortgage on the race all being well,” he said.
Lees’ travelling foreman Mal Ollerton put Smart Melody through her paces on the Caulfield course proper on Tuesday morning and was please with her progress.
"I came down and galloped her before she won the Prelude and she hasn't gone backwards," Ollerton told AAP.
"I couldn't be happier with her this morning. It was more maintenance than anything to keep her ticking over for Saturday. In saying that she worked quite well.
"I think she has probably worked better this morning than she did last time I came down and rode her."
Ollerton is confident Smart Melody can cope with the extra distance of the Thousand Guineas.
"We've always thought she would run a mile," he said.
"Even though she was as brilliant as she was early in those shorter races, at home in her work she has always given you the feel that she would run a mile.
"People probably think she's probably a 1200-metre horse because she is so brilliant, but I don't think the mile will be an issue at all."