Kris Lees remains confident that his rising nine year old Motspur still has enough in the tank to challenge his younger rivals in Saturday’s At Sea Handicap at Warwick Farm.
Lees said that he thought this past season was Motspur’s best since he made his debut as a two year old way back in the 2004/5 season.
“I think this has probably been close to his best season,” Lees said.
“Over his career he’s had about three six-month spells due to a few shoulder injuries. There were a few times we thought that might be the end of him but probably in some ways having those long breaks contributed to his longevity.
Because he has racked up so much prize money over the years, Motspur has been hit with 59kg in the 1200m At Sea Handicap, which has led Lees to engage apprentice Blake Spriggs.
“He’s a big strong horse that can carry weight but with the two kilo claim it just makes him a bit better off against some of the opposition. Plus Blake has ridden him before and had some success as well,” Lees said.
Motspur was brave in defeat in his last start in the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton, where he was third behind Jerezana and Falco Star, and Lees confirmed that the horse had come out of the race, with no major problems.
“It’s a bit quicker than I would normally run him again but there is not a great deal of options for him as we’re coming into the better class races now,” he said.
“He may have this run and then a little freshen up and come back later in the year.”
Motspur is rated as a $9.00 chance in the At Sea Handicap, well behind raging favourite Rain Affair, who is being quoted as a $1.45 chance.
Lees said that he thought Rain Affair would go on to be a top level sprinter.
“He’s going to make our task quite difficult, but I do think our bloke’s best wins have been when he has come off the back off a hot speed,” Lees said.
“Rain Affair does look a Group horse in the making though, so we might be coming up against a real up and comer.”
Rain Affair, who will be ridden by Corey Brown on Saturday, has won five of his six starts, with his most impressive win coming last start in a benchmark 95 race at Rosehill. That day He streaked away from a quality field which included Royal Discretion, Miss Independent and Jest Crewsin.
Saturday will be the first time that the talented Joseph Pride trained three year old will stepping out beyond the 1100m.