Kris Lees Opera House To Be Retired

Australia’s only pure white race horse, The Opera House may have run her last race after trainer Kris Lees confirmed the horse had succumbed to a tendon injury in her near foreleg.

Lees confirmed that the horse would be floated to owner John Singleton’s farm at Strawberry Hill on the New South Wales central coast, where a decision would be made on her future.

“She had really improved since she won her first race at Wyong at the end of June, and I had planned to spell her after she raced at Newcastle on Saturday (the meeting was cancelled due to weather and track conditions),” Lees said.

“It’s extremely disappointing to lose her because I had no doubt the best had yet to be seen of her on the racetrack.

Lees said that The Opera House would be inspected by John Singleton’s vet John Peatfield, but conceded as a rising five year old it was difficult to see the horse racing again.

The Opera House is a three quarter sister to former Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power and was purchased by John Singleton for a $270,000 at the 2008 Magic Millions Yearling Sales on the Gold Coast.

Lees showed patience with the horse, and despite its lofty price tag, he was content to leave the horse in the paddock until it was a three year old.

At her first start in a race, The Opera House competed in the same Maiden as the Gai Waterhouse trained Once Were Wild. The two finished close to each other that day, and while Once Were Wild went on to taste Group One success in the AJC Oaks, Opera House battled away on the provincial tracks, and didn’t win a race until what could turn out to be her last start in a race.

The Opera House’s retirement comes just after Kris Lees appeared to find her ideal distance. In her earlier races, most of which were in the 1400-1600m mark, The Opera House was finishing off strongly without being able to win. However she proved that she was a stayer in the making by running third at her first step up to 2100m before winning her second start over 2100m.

Because Saturday’s Newcastle meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather Kris Lees sewed up the Newcastle Turf Club’s training premiership, beating home Paul Perry and Darren Smith.