A big weight and jump to 1400-metres were the concerns for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees as Powerline aims for third time lucky in the Subzero Handicap at Flemington on Thursday.
The seven-year-old gelding was equal topweight at 60 kilograms for the traditional Oaks Day greys-only race in which he finished third in last year. He was ninth in the event in 2016.
Powerline, which will be Lees’ only starter on Oaks Day, has drawn well in four and has Damien Oliver aboard. He was $8 with TAB Fixed Odds behind Harbour Grey ($3) which was second last year in the race.
Powerline was back from an injury lay-off for last year’s race but he has had five runs this time in since July and has finished fourth in his past four starts across Randwick, Doomben, Mudgee and Taree.
The past two have been over 1200m and Lees was worried the weight and extra distance could be a factor. Powerline carried just 54kg last year.
“Last year he ran in it first-up for 12 months and he ran an unlucky third,” Lees said.
“It’s a different program this year. He’s had a bit or racing and he’s been very sound.
“The biggest issue for him is the 1400 with the 60 kilos. The weights went up noticeably which probably indicates the depth of the field but it also might make it a bit tough for him late.
“He’s racing consistently. He’s run fourth his past four starts so he’s been around the money.
“He should have finished closer the other day. He missed the start badly and probably should have run a clear second.”
Lees, meanwhile, had luck at the draw on Wednesday for his dual group 1 shot at Flemington on Saturday.
In Her Time will contest the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) down the straight from gate seven. Prized Icon drew five in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
“She’s in the middle so that is probably perfect. They can decide to go either way,” he said of In Her Time and jockey Corey Brown.
Newcastle trainer Paul Perry’s Ragged Rascal drew 10 for the listed Springtime Stakes (1400m) and Perast gained eight in the group 3 Chatham Stakes (1400m).