Local Ascot trainer Simon A Miller is preparing to saddle-up three livewire chances in the diminutive five-horse 2012 Lee Steere Classic field at his home track this Saturday, his favourite of which is last start winner Miss Bux.
Running as Ascot Race 3 at 2:15pm (local time) the $125,000 Group 3 Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) has this year drawn a final field of just five hopefuls, half the number of acceptors that ran in the feature 12 months ago.
Miller won the Lee Steere last year with talented General Nediym mare Night War, now prepared in Melbourne by Mick Price, who came off a second in the Listed Placid Arc Stakes (1200m) and he will shoot for successive wins in the race this weekend.
He has a stranglehold over the field numbers-wise too with three representatives including another daughter of General Nediym Miss Bux.
The three-year-old has had just two runs to date but has won both firstly at Bunbury in November and then in the Placid Ark Stakes but one length, jockey Patrick Carbery retaining the ride as she looks to retain her undefeated status.
“She’s looked very good in wins at her only two starts,” Miller said.
Miss Bux’s stablemate Hard Ball Get who ran a good second to her in the Placid Ark will also back-up in the Lee Steere one outside of her in barrier three, William Pike to replace the Aussie Rules gelding’s last start jockey Paul Harvey.
Hard Ball Get enjoyed successive wins at Belmont Park over 1200m and then 1300m during the winter before resuming off a four month spell with their good Placid Ark minor place.
“Hard Ball Get is in top order to tackle the classic second-up,” Miller said about the classy galloper on Wednesday.
Miller’s third and final Lee Steere Classic chance this year is then Miss Solis due to jump from the inside alley with Jason Whiting in the saddle.
The Oratorio filly has won five of her 11 starts so far earning $269,000 in prize money well exceeding her modest $32,000 purchase price from the 2011 William Inglis and Son Sydney Classic Yearling Sales.
A dual stakes winner Miss Solis was last seen finishing a distant 11th to Fuddle Dee Duddle in the Group 3 Champion Stakes (1600m) on November 17 and she is sure to appreciate the drop back in distance from a mile to the 1400m on Saturday.
While she is likely to start the longest-priced of Miller’s trio in the Lee Steere Classic odds he has warned punters not to write her off.
“Miss Solis will probably be the outsider of my trio, but she wouldn’t surprise if winning,” he said.
“The filly has won five races and she’s been freshened since her last start, a month ago.
“I gave Miss Solis six weeks off racing early in spring and she stormed home to win the Belgravia Stakes when resuming.
“Jason Whiting has been called in to ride Miss Solis for the first time on Saturday. His patient style will suit her.”
Champion Stakes winner Fuddle Dee Duddle is also engaged for the Lee Steere, the Red Ransom filly having gone on to run a close fourth to Sydney raider Academus in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) before stepping up to the 1800m where she finished only two lengths away fifth to champ Luckygray in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic last weekend.
The Paul Jordan-trained Passion Cantata, out for their third win on the trot after successive victories at the track, rounds out the 2012 Lee Steere Classic field.
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