The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Newcastle-based horseman Kris Lees celebrated his second Queensland Oaks triumph 18 years since his first thanks to a gun ride by jockey Damien Oliver who was up in the sunshine state on Saturday to partner Amokura to victory in the Group 1 at Eagle Farm.
It was an impressive performance from the progressive daughter of Kermadec who was having just her sixth career start and her first in Black-Type company in the Group 1 $700,000 Channel 7 Queensland Oaks (2200m).
Lees had the filly pegged as a potential Oaks’ hope two starts back when she won over 1850m at Newcastle in a bullish eight-length performance.
From there he brought her up with Amokura successful at the Sunshine Coast by two lengths in a Class 1 over 1800m last time out to sneak into the Queensland Oaks 2023 field.
It proved a winning move by Lees who was back in the winners’ stall having also won the Queensland Oaks back in 2005 with Vitesse Dane.
“Well they can come from nowhere in an Oaks,” Lees told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“She put the writing on the wall with a win at Newcastle by a big margin.
“Got Ollie to come up and ride her, and the rest is history.”
Despite a tardy start from the inside alley by the eventual Queensland Oaks winner, Oliver got into a nice off-speed position with Amokura ($8) before coming with a weaving run on the home straight.
“She got further back than we were thinking from the nice draw,” Lees admitted.
“But he (Oliver) weaved a passage and got the job done.
“All along she gave us the impression she’d get over ground.”
Let Me Reign had led the field around until the top of the turn when she was quickly tackled by the visiting Kiwi Sakura Girl and then Richard Laming‘s fast-finishing Rubick filly Reo.
Amokura however was dominant late having conserved energy early and charged home to finish ahead of eye-catching 100/1 roughie Reo while Maurice filly Noah ‘N’ A Deel ($21) was back to her best rounding out the Queensland Oaks trifecta in third.
Beaten favourite Renaissance Woman ($3.90F) was back third last on the home turn and made up ground to run fourth 3.75 lengths off the winner.
Lees confirmed plans to now head to the paddock with the still lightly-raced Amokura before a likely spring return.
“First prep, she’s going to get a well deserved break and then we’ll reassess her from there,” he said.
2023 Queensland Oaks Results & Finishing Order
|1||17||AMOKURA||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||1||56.5kg||$8|
|2||15||REO||Richard Laming||Martin Harley||1.63L||5||56.5kg||$101|
|3||6||NOAH ’N’ A DEEL||Les Kelly||Sean Cormack||3.23L||9||56.5kg||$21|
|4||3||RENAISSANCE WOMAN (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||3.75L||6||56.5kg||$3.90F|
|5||2||AFFAIRE A SUIVRE (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||4.71L||12||56.5kg||$5|
|6||16||YANKEE HUSSEL||Kris Lees||Andrew Mallyon||4.75L||8||56.5kg||$26|
|7||14||CHEVAL D’OR (NZ)||Tony Pike||Michael McNab||6.49L||17||56.5kg||$15|
|8||7||SAKURA GIRL (NZ)||Ben Foote||Opie Bosson||6.95L||18||56.5kg||$11|
|9||11||DIVINE PURPOSE||Clinton Taylor||Ben Thompson||7.49L||4||56.5kg||$81|
|10||9||MADAME ODETTE||Tony Gollan||Ryan Maloney||7.6L||3||56.5kg||$17|
|11||4||SO DAZZLING (NZ)||John Sargent||Craig Williams||7.97L||10||56.5kg||$13|
|12||12||PROSCENIUM ARCH (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Tim Clark||9.66L||7||56.5kg||$9|
|13||18||CARING LASS||Matthew Smith||Ms Rachel King||10.87L||16||56.5kg||$201|
|14||13||ORIGINAL GLAZE||Trevor Lambourn||Michael Murphy||11.26L||2||56.5kg||$201|
|15||19e||FIREFLIES||Brett Cavanough||Jake Bayliss||11.85L||14||56.5kg||$201|
|16||10||LET ME REIGN||Lee & Cherie Curtis||James Orman||15.39L||13||56.5kg||$101|
|17||5||TYRESA||Kelly Schweida||Larry Cassidy||21.88L||11||56.5kg||$151|
|FF||8||SUPER CHILLED||Chris Waller||James McDonald||15||56.5kg||$13|
|22e||CALIFORNIA GRASS||John Thompson||0|
|23e||ARTFUL GIRL||Kevin Kemp||Marnu Potgieter (a)||0|
|21e||ROCKBARTON ROAD||Joe Cleary||Ms Tegan Harrison||0|
|1||FIREBURN||Gary Portelli||Jason Collett||0|
|20e||KALEA||Renita Beaton||Chad Schofield||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.