Tuesday, 5 June 2012
: Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has set his resilient veteran sprinter Motspur on a tried and tested path to the $150,000 Ramornie Handicap at Grafton following his return to winning form at the recent Scone Cup carnival.
Photo by Racing and Sports
Lees has Saturday's $100,000 June Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill and the $100,000 Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on June 22 slated as the races that will lead Motspur to another attempt at the Listed WHK Ramornie (1200m) at Grafton on July 11 after his unlucky third in last year's edition won by Jerezana
is a rising 10-year-old but showed at Scone that he retains his zest for racing with his win in the $120,000 feature sprint over 1100m on May 19 for the second successive year despite numerous setbacks that have kept him on the sidelines for long periods during his career.
"He has had his problems over many years but he is as good as he has ever been now. He's not a crock." Lees said.
"It could be that the injuries have been a blessing as he is still going strong at an age when most horses are well and truly finished."
Motspur was having his 50th start when he lined up at Scone, not having won since his success in the same race in 2011 when he beat the G1 winner Atomic Force.
He has now won 12 races plus 16 placings to take his career earnings to more than $608,000.
The program Lees has mapped out for Motpur over the next month is nothing new for the trainer or the veteran gelding.
Lees has had only four Ramornie Handicap starters since he started training nine years ago for two placings with Captain Bax and Motspur.Captain Bax
finished second to The Jackal in 2008 after placings in the June Stakes and the Pacesetter (Takeover Target) Stakes at Gosford in his two lead-up races.
For the record Captain Bax also finished sixth in the Ramornie in 2006 won by For Valour after unplaced performances in the June Stakes and Pacesetter Stakes. Lees also started Readyforcatherine
in the 2007 Ramornie for a sixth after an unplaced effort in the Pacesetter.
Last year Motspur, after winning at Scone, made a quick trip to Brisbane to finish 10th in the QTC Cup at Eagle Farm before returning home to finish third in the Takeover Target (Pacesetter) Stakes won by Title.
He then started favourite in the Ramornie where he was beaten just over a length into third place behind Jerezana
and Falco Star.
Interestingly the Peter Snowden-trained mare Jerezana
also won a feature race over 1300m at the 2011 Scone carnival on her way to her Ramornie victory.
She then raced twice in Queensland before winning the Ramornie, just as her stablemate Pinwheel did in 2010 when he gave Snowden his first Ramornie success with his first runner.
Snowden again has an array of sprinting talent to choose from in a bid to keep intact his perfect Ramornie record and become the first trainer to win three successive Ramornie Handicaps since Neville Russell won the race four times in succession with the local champion Cuban Song between 1933 and 1936.