The Sydney Winter Racing Carnival action...
Newcastle’s Kris Lees chases his first win in the WJ McKell Cup 2020 at Rosehill on Saturday with his five-horse contingent led by race favourite Attention Run.
There are 13 remaining stayers in this year’s Listed $120,000 W J McKell Cup (2000m) on Civic Stakes Day and Lees and rival trainer Chris Waller saddle-up 10 of the runners between them.
It is the Lees-trained Hurricane Run mare Attention Run tipped to salute, the German-bred grey sitting top of the WJ McKell Cup odds at $4.20 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn well in gate four with Andrew Adkins to ride on 53kg, the European expat drops notably in weight after carrying 57.5kg to victory first-up at the track on July 13 over 1800m in a Benchmark 88.
Up in grade and distance she should be flying with the lesser kilos on Saturday presenting fitter second-up and ticking plenty of boxes after saluting by nearly two lengths last time out.
“She gets track conditions to suit, she’s won at the track and she will appreciate a step up in distance,” Lees said of Attention Run speaking to the media this week.
“In a perfect world I would probably have her runs a little more spaced. That’s the only negative I can really find.”
The other Lees-trained horses in the WJ McKell Cup field for 2020 are: last year’s Group 2 Brisbane Cup winner Sixties Groove ($7.50) carrying plenty of weight with 60kg, former Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter (2017) Big Duke ($15), the rails-drawn Frankley Awesome ($19) backed in early from an opening quote of $31 and the stable’s outside Mongolian Wolf ($41).
Of those, Lees labelled his 2000m specialist Sixties Groove and Group 1 placed Big Duke as his other threats in the race.
“They’re the two class horses of mine that have raced at a very high level,” he said.
The five-horse Waller assault on the WJ McKell Cup field meanwhile is led betting-wise by Carzoff ($6) who comes off a lead-up second at the track in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m).
Waller ran the trifecta in the Winter Cup with Carzoff finishing between Wu Gok (1st) and Yulong Prince (3rd) and he is after another white-wash in the McKell Cup on the weekend.
Chasing a third straight win this prep having won both the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) and Winter Cup at Rosehill is Wu Gok, the Sebring six-year-old also at $6 in WJ McKell Cup betting.
Adam Hyeronimus continues his successful association on the in-form galloper this weekend with Wu Gok going up in weight again from 59.5kg to 61kg making the task of a Rosehill winter staying hat-trick a little tougher.
Waller is also represented in the race on Saturday by The Lord Mayor ($12) in the outside alley, Black On Gold ($19) and roughie shot Herengawe ($31).
The other best fancied runner equal on $6 with Carzoff and Wu Gok is the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Sully.
Sully jumps from a midfield barrier carrying 54kg in the event third-up.
The Reliable Man gelding enjoyed some big runs last spring including his third in Caulfield’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and is out to improve on his sixth in the Swan Hill Cup (1600m) last start when carrying 58.5kg.
Co-trainer Busuttin believes the drop-in weight and the Heavy Rosehill track on Saturday will both play into Sully’s favour.
“I thought he ran well last-start at Swan Hill over 1600 metres which was short of his best, but more so the track was unseasonably hard for this time year,” he told AAP.
“He’s had a few injuries and he probably needs a wet track to let down on so we looked to this race.
“There was the 2000 metre-race at Caulfield on Saturday but we’ve opted to go to the McKell Cup for the wet track, and also the weight scale is a big thing.
“He had 61kg in Melbourne compared to 54kg in Sydney so it’s a bit of a no-brainer as far as the weight scale is concerned.”
2020 W J McKell Cup Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||0x97730x11||WU GOK||Chris Waller||Adam Hyeronimus||12||61kg||108|
|2||x3321x0x97||SIXTIES GROOVE (IRE)||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||3||60kg||106|
|3||8326x750x9||BIG DUKE (IRE)||Kris Lees||Nash Rawiller||5||57.5kg||101|
|4||3945×02492||CARZOFF (FR)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||9||57kg||100|
|5||72133×0836||THE LORD MAYOR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Sam Clipperton||14||55.5kg||97|
|6||01136221×0||HERENGAWE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||11||54kg||94|
|7||2x99237x06||SULLY (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Jean Van Overmeire (a)||7||54kg||94|
|8||x68222x658||BLACK ON GOLD||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||10||54kg||92|
|9||09x0225x00||SATONO RASEN (JPN)||Chris Waller||Robbie Dolan (a)||8||54kg||91|
|10||77223x07x6||FRANKELY AWESOME||Kris Lees||Jason Collett||1||54kg||87|
|11||3717851257||MONGOLIAN WOLF||Kris Lees||Tim Clark||2||54kg||85|
|12||3276x507x1||ATTENTION RUN (GER)||Kris Lees||Andrew Adkins||4||53kg||93|
|13||2x821950x6||PRIMITIVO||John Thompson||Glen Boss||6||53kg||92|
|14||21011123×0||PATHS OF GLORY (GB)||Richard & Michael Freedman||Ms Rachel King||13||53kg||82|
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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