Kris Lees looks to have another couple of smart three-year-old fillies in his stable after Evalina and Power Rush won their respective races.
In a stable littered with three-year-old stars like Miss Fabulass and Smart Melody, foreman Keyren Forbes believes the two Wyong winners could both have bright futures. “It’s exciting times for the stables with so many talented fillies and I believe these two have plenty of ability,” he said.
Evalina ($3) put on a dominant performance to win the 1200m SE RENTALS FOR SMEETHY Maiden.
The I Am Invincible filly, raced by Leb Petagna who also owned Lees’ multipe group winning mare Lucia Valentina, was a $280,000 purchase at the 2017 Easter Yearling sales.
Evalina was having her third race start, coming off a fifth at Newcastle over 900m on August 16 when resuming.
The win brought up a race to race double for leading rider Brenton Avdulla.
He said Lees had found the right race for the filly and believed she would improve further off the win.
“Going back to the trials the other day Aaron (Bullock) gave her a good bit of education. He rode her quiet and went back through them,” Avdulla said. “Today in a slowly run race she over-raced for me a little bit early but I was always confident.
“I was happy to ride my race and hit the front at the top of the straight and kick her home and she was good enough to get the job done.”
Stable foreman Keyren Forbes described Evalina as a “really nice filly who is only going to go forward.”
“It’s very exciting. She hit the line very hard and was very keen. She’s going the right way and that’s great.”
Godolphin runner Segalas ($8) was a length behind in second, with the Clare Cunningham trained Coppergate ($4), third.
Power Rush ($3fav) was equally impressive taking out the 1000m EVERYTHING SPORTS & PERPETUAL CONVEYANCING CLASS 1.
Jason Collett, who brought up a winning double on the filly, settled her just behind the speed, taking a rails run in the straight to win by a half-length.
The filly was coming off a last start win at Tamworth on debut, and Forbes said it was great to see her take to the next step to provincial class.
“She’s got plenty of ability and it will be interesting to see how she progresses. She’s doing everything right and that is a great sign.”
Miss Invincible ($4.20) from the Bjorn Baker stable was second, with Venture Capital ($13) trained by Brett Partelle, a close third.
Into The Oblivion ($2.90fav) is headed for a Melbourne Spring campaign after his impressive win in the 1600m JIMMY JURD FOR SMEETHY 3YO Maiden.
The Paul Perry trained gelding made short work of his opposition in the final stages of the straight, drawing away for a half-length win.
Perry will now target the feature distance races, if he continues to show ability in lead-up races in Melbourne.
“That will be the goal, but we will see how he goes,” stable foreman Mick Rowland said.
“I’d say Paul will start him in a few minor races but that will be up to him.”
Jockey Jay Ford had settled the three-year-old near the rear of the field, before bringing him to the outside on straightening and finishing strongly.
The Hinchinbrook gelding is raced by a syndicate that includes Danny and Barbara Grant, long-time supporters of the Perry stable, who raced Group 1 winner The Mission.
Rowland said he had been concerned when Into The Oblivion was settled back in the field.
“I was having palpitations, but he got him going early and got a nice cart into the race off the back of Miss Moama,” he said.
“He loomed up in the straight and made short work of them.
“He put them away like a good horse in the end and he just eased him down on the line.”
Ford said the horse had to earn his money the “hard way” but in the end was too strong for his opposition.
“He resumed with a really eye-catching run and was a tad unlucky so it’s good to see him come her today and put them to bed,” Ford said.
“He put himself to sleep and was struggling to keep up, so that will put him in good stead when he gets over further.
“Once I shook him up he took a while to wind up but his class was too strong over the last furlong.”
Into The Oblivion beat the John Sargent trained Miss Moana ($5), with Northern Voyage ($3.20) from the Waterhouse/Bott stable, third.
Robbie Dolan continued his great association with Victory Anthem bringing up his fourth win on the Darci Brahma gelding.
The pair combined to take out the 1600m MINGARA AND PKF FOR SMEETHY BENCHMARK 64, securing the win for Dolan’s boss Mark Newnham.
Dolan has combined with Victory Anthem for all his four career wins and all but one of his five placings.
His latest victory brought up a double on the program for the in-form apprentice.
Against his normal pattern, Victory Anthem ($5.50) settled to the rear of the field, but showed good determination when hitting the front in the straight to hold out his opposition and record a narrow win.
Dolan said the pace in the early stages of the race had been quick, leaving him further back in the field.
“He’s a better horse when you can get him on the bridle and build up his confidence,” he said.
“He showed in the finish he had that little bit extra with plenty of determination.”
Paula Newnham, representing the stable, said Mark had questioned if the horse had the ability to step up to provincial grade following his last start Nowra win.
“He took that next step today. Robbie has done a great job and we are absolutely thrilled,” she said.
“He is a stable favourite and just keeps putting in. It’s great to see him win like this today.”
The $2.80 favourite Zabeel’s Choice, from the Bjorn Baker stable was second, ahead of the Lees trained Hermosa Reward ($3.40).
A thrilling three-way finish in the 1000m THE ENTRANCE LEAGUES FOR SMEETHY CONDITIONAL BENCHMARK 70 saw Josh Adams snatch the narrowest of wins for his close mate Luke Thomas.
Adams crossed the line on Princess Lottie ($5.50), just a nose ahead of Stone Cold ($9), with another Muswellbrook runner Eminent Duke ($3.50) behind in third.
An excited Adams said it was great to win for Thomas and his family.
“I’ve known Luke for a long time through riding horses. We were mates before he got his trainers licence and I’ve been able to get a couple of winners for him since.
“This was the one I’ve been wanting to win on, so it was great to get the result.”
Adams joked that Thomas’s daughter had made him a lucky bracelet in the colours of Princess Lottie and he would leave it on.
“It worked a charm today, so I’ll probably keep wearing it,” he laughed.
Thomas was also excited to get another winner with Adams.
“Josh is a good mate of mine. We’ve been friends for a long time. Six months ago I was struggling to get him on horses because I didn’t have much,” he said.
“I’ve got some nicer horses coming through now and I’ve finally got him on. It’s terrific.
“I’ve always thought Lottie’s got a turn of foot. Sometimes she goes a bit hard early, but I took the blinkers off her and she’s been flying on the training tracks.
“I’m rapt for her and rapt for Josh.”
Owners Sarah English and John Horn had plenty to celebrate after their gelding Soir De Lune ($3.70) broke through for his first win in the ROILY AND BOOTHY FOR SMEETHY Maiden over 1350m.
Trainer Clare Cunningham said the Wyong straight had never seemed so long after Jason Collett took the four-year-old to the lead on the turn.
He kicked away by more than two lengths but had to hold out the fast finishing Jarhead ($4.80) and the $2 race favourite Starvino to score a narrow win.
“Wyong’s not a long straight but it was today,” Cunningham laughed.
“It was a very good ride and good to get the job done straight off the bat. He was knocking on the door last prep and trialled well coming into this.”
Cunningham said the owners had brought Soir De Lune at a tried horse sale, unaware he had suffered a serious injury earlier in his career.
“He did a four out of five suspensory and didn’t even make it to the track with his first trainer,” she said.
“They didn’t know that when they brought him, but they love the horse and would of given him a home even if he didn’t race.
“They will be very excited today.”
Cunningham said she would look at putting the gelding up in distance and add a couple of gear changes.
“He is pretty dour and a set of blinkers will help him in the future.
“He’s not a superstar but we will try and find races like this.”
There was plenty of emotion in the enclosure after Bobbing ($3.20) came from the rear of the field to win the REAL ESTATE ACADEMY FOR SMEETHY Class 1 for Hawkesbury trainer Bernie Kelly.
Kelly and his wife Anne bred the Beneteau gelding, with Bernie delivering him outside the couple’s bedroom window.
“It’s very special,” an emotional Anne Kelly said.
“We raced both Mum and Dad and Bernie delivered this one.
“He was born the week after our 26-year-old pony Bob died so that’s how he got the name.”
The $2.40 race favourite Our Royal Egyptian looked to have the race won, pulling away for a four-length lead on straightening.
Under strong riding by apprentice Robbie Dolan, Bobbing made up considerable ground in the straight to run down the leader on the line for a three-quarter length win.
Kelly said he hadn’t expected the five-year-old to be so far back in the run.
“I’d given up on him half way through the race,” he said.
“I thought he might run last at one stage, so it was good to see him get to the line.
“Being first up I thought he might race a bit keener. He has a good turn of foot so its onwards and upwards from here.”
Dolan said Bobbing was going to be a ‘nice horse.’
The winner was resuming following his maiden win at Hawkesbury in July. Single Intent ($9.50) from the Damien Lane stable, was third.
A drop in grade and strong ride by Brenton Avdulla proved to be the winning formula for the James Cummings trained Fallgood ($2.50fav), who held off the swoopers to take out the 1000m JA TIGHE PLUMBING & WHOLESALE APPLIANCES Maiden.
The Exceed and Excel gelding didn’t get it all her own way with the Matthew Smith trained Bentley Magic ($21) and Fallgood’s stablemate Hiemal ($4), challenging late.
Fallgood scored by a short neck, with Godolphin stable foreman Darren Beadman describing it as a “deserving win.”
“She’s been knocking on the door in her last few starts and it’s nice to get that maiden out of the way,” he said.
“She had a few challengers there at the 100m mark, but she is quite a determined filly, which has been her Achilles heel, in the sense that she just wants to overdo it all the time.
“Brenton gave her a lovely ride today, produced her late and it was a solid win.”
Avdulla said Cummings had been “pretty bullish” about the chances of Fallgold.
“He said if I kept her out of trouble she would probably win.
“She gave me a good ride, nice and comfortable and was able to stick her head out and get the job done. “