Newcastle trainer Kris Lees expects Gem Song to make a bold start to his campaign towards a possible Epsom Handicap run when he takes on boom former West Australian mare Arcadia Queen on Saturday.
Gem Song and stablemate El Dorado Dreaming will resume at Rosehill in the group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1350m), in which Arcadia Queen was the the odds-on favourite on Friday with TAB.
Now with Chris Waller in Sydney, Everest-bound Arcadia Queen is a last-start winner of the group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m). Fellow four-year-olds Gem Song ($14) and El Dorado Dreaming ($19) are not expected to challenge her on Saturday but Lees hopes they can get on track for the group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
"The Epsom is only three weeks away, so their performances tomorrow will give us a good indication about that race," Lees told his website. "Both horses will be better for the run tomorrow, but I'm expecting Gem Song to race well.
"He has won twice first-up previously, albeit in his own grade, and raced really well in Brisbane during the winter, including a good fourth in the Doomben Cup at weight-for-age.
"El Dorado Dreaming's last two runs in group 1 company in the autumn in Sydney against her own sex also were good. But she has never won first-up before, and I'm sure she will take improvement from tomorrow's outing."
** At least two Scone-trained horses will contest the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko at Randwick on October 19 after Bobbing was picked up for a slot late on Thursday.
The six-year-old gelding won this year's Provincial Championship when based at Hawkesbury with trainer Bernie Kelly, who has since relocated to Scone.
Star Boy, for Scone trainer Brett Cavanough, was given a slot on Tuesday. Eleven of 14 spots in the race were taken.
** Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson will be aboard when The Harrovian tries to claim a $200,000 bonus in Cairns.
Thompson rode The Harrovian to wins in the Townsville and Cairns Cups, which are two legs of the Northern Stayers bonus series. A win in Saturday's $150,000 Cairns Amateurs Cup brings with it a $200,000 bonus.
The Harrovian has been given 59 kilograms in the Cairns Amateurs Cup - 2.5kg more than he carried in the Cairns Cup and 5kg more than in the Townsville Cup.