Kris Lees believes his latest three-year-old winner Reginae is a genuine Flight Stakes chance after her impressive victory on debut against metropolitan Saturday company at Randwick.
Reginae, backed into $9 from $15, made the most of a rails run under Corey Brown to win the benchmark 74 1300-metre handicap for three-year-olds by 1 ½ lengths in the opening event.
Almost forgotten among Lees’ list of exciting three-year-olds, including Smart Melody, Miss Fabulass, Graff and Gem Song, Reginae announced herself as another stakes race contender.
“We wanted to take her through her grades, rather than taking on the good fillies straight away,” Lees told Fairfax Media.
“She has always had talent and a terrific attitude. She’s always shown us that we can get her out to a mile.
“We might have to go to the Princess Series after that, and I think she is a real Flight Stakes chance.”
The group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) for three-year-old fillies will be held on September 29 at Randwick.
Reginae, an All Too Hard filly, won her maiden at Kembla Grange two weeks ago. She was a narrow second in a midweek Canterbury race in her only start as a two-year-old.
"She was really good on her first-up run this preparation," Lees told AAP.
"She trained on the right way. I thought it was a really strong race on paper.
"It was a terrific ride from Corey [Brown] with that good gate.
"She's really bombproof. She's a filly with a lot of upside and she's got a bright future.”
The win was the only joy for Lees at Randwick, where he had Miss Fabulass (Furious), Prized Icon (Chelmsford) and Le Romain (Tramway) unplaced in stakes races.
All three loomed large early in the straight after forward runs before failing to figure in the finish.
Le Romain finished 1 ½ lengths seventh behind winner Comin’ Through after travelling three wide from a wide gate. Jockey Hugh Bowman was pleased with the effort from the three-time group 1 winner which was second-up over 1400m after victory in the 1200m Show County Quality.
Miss Fabulass was jumping from a maiden midweek win at Canterbury and finished sixth, 2 ½ lengths off winner Pure Elation in the 1200m race.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy had the Frankel-Samantha Miss filly well placed on the rails behind the leaders in the run and she appeared ready to challenge when given clear passage.
“We put her in the race and I was expecting a nice finish at the top of the rise,” McEvoy said. “Might have just levelled out a bit, suggesting she might be best ridden a little quieter. The 1400m will suit and also softer in the ground.”
Prized Icon finished fifth, almost three lengths behind winner Unforgotten, in the 1600m Chelmsford.
At the Sunshine Coast, Tactical Advantage made it two wins from three starts for Lees and her new owners, Hunter-based syndicators Australian Bloodstock.
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