Canterbury Choice For Olympic Academy
Kris Lees has elected to start Olympic Academy in tonight’s feature event at Canterbury rather than the Listed Parramatta Cup at Rosehill on Saturday.
The decision brings to an end the Newcastle trainer’s outstanding Saturday metropolitan winning sequence as Olympic Academy was his only acceptor at Rosehill.
Lees has won at least one race in Sydney on a Saturday for the last six weekends, an outstanding achievement for a provincial stable.
In-form sprinter Dal Cielo began the streak when successful at Warwick Farm on January 7 and Lees made it six weekends in succession when he clinched a Group 3 treble with Le Romain , Invincible Gem and Zestful at the postponed Apollo Stakes meeting at Randwick last Monday.
Lees feels Olympic Academy is better suited in the Evening Star Cup (1900m) at Canterbury rather than Saturday’s Parramatta Cup over the same distance due to the weight scaling in the Rosehill event.
“Whilst he is on the limit (53kg), he probably should have around 48kg,” Lees said.
“If he won on Saturday, he would be an extremely hard horse to place in the future.”
Olympic Academy has 63kg at Canterbury and Lees has booked apprentice Rachel King to offset that by 2kg.
“It’s still a good leveller,” Lees said. “But it’s a Benchmark 80 race, and he does race well at Canterbury.”
The consistent six-year-old, who won last year’s Taree Cup (2000m), has raced nine times over the Canterbury 1900m for three wins and as many placings.
He has raced well at all four starts since resuming. After scoring narrowly with 58kg in a BM 80 (600m) at Randwick on January 21 he backed up a week later and ran third to Embley in a BM 85 (2000m) at Rosehill.
In other plans for from the Lees stable:-
• Dal Cielo will go for a city hat-trick in the $500,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at the Royal Randwick Guineas meeting on March 4.
• Young sprinter Guard Of Honour will be given a shot at Group 1 glory interstate on Saturday week with the three-year-old to go to Melbourne for $500,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
Guard Of Honour has raced only six times for two wins and has been placed at both starts since resuming, the latest when just caught on the line by Man From Uncle in the G3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 4.
“I have been working him the reverse way at Broadmeadow, and he has handled it without any problem,” Lees said.
“I’m expecting he will get around 50kg, but at this stage I haven’t confirmed a rider.”
Lees has worked Guard Of Honour in blinkers, and the colt will race in them in the Oakleigh Plate.
• Import Singing will trial again at Wyong on Monday week before Lees opens the French stayer’s autumn campaign.
Singing hasn’t raced since injuring himself when seventh to Sacred Master in the G3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2200m) last September.
He won a 1200m trial on the new Broadmeadow course proper on January 25.
“He has had so many issues that I really just want to get him back to the races,” he said.
Singing has raced only 18 times for four wins and six placings.