For the second time this year Newcastle trainers Paul Perry and Kris Lees will field group 1 runners in different races on the same Sydney card.
However, Saturday at Randwick sees Perry with Sky Lab in action again but Lees has Luncies taking the place of injured Mugatoo.
Six months ago as part of the autumn carnival Perry's Sky Lab contested the ATC Derby on April 10 while Lees had Mugatoo, fresh off victory in the $5 million All Star Mile, running the Doncaster.
On this occasion in the NSW capital spring, Sky Lab returns for a crack at the $1.5 million Epsom (1600 metres) followed by Luncies in the $750,000 Metropolitan (2400m).
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Four-year-old gelding Sky Lab, second in group 1 company at the Rosehill Guineas earlier this year, may carry two extra kilograms (52.5) with jockey Tim Clark on board and has drawn barrier four for Perry's targeted mile journey.
"You can only be happy with your horse and I'm really happy with him," Perry told the Newcastle Herald.
"It's been the aim to run in this race and even though he's carrying two above his weight he's got a good jockey and has drawn well."
Sky Lab finished second in the group 3 Cameron Handicap at Newcastle a fortnight ago.
"He came through it all pretty good. I thought it was a super run. He probably had a hard run but to just get beat like that I thought it was lovely," he said.
The Epsom was the first of Perry's group 1 winners, courtesy of Navy Seal in 1994.
Similarly, Lees has struck success previously in the Metropolitan with County Tyrone saluting in 2004.
He also went close 12 months ago with Mugatoo runner-up, following wins at the Premiers Cup and Newcastle Cup but prior to a Cox Plate fourth.
UK import Luncies arrives for the 2021 edition from a fifth (Coffs Harbour Cup), seventh (Premiers Cup) and fourth (Newcastle Cup) but Lees feels the five-year-old gelding, ridden by Robbie Dolan (50kg) out of gate two, has continued to improve.
"Unless we get a stack of rain, which could come either way, he should get a more forward run than he did in the Newcastle Cup and he has no weight on his back so there's a few positives there," Lees said.
"I thought it was a good run (September 17). We were always looking for him to improve off that and he seems to have. Everything suggests he's going the right way."
First emergency Luncies, otherwise heading to Queensland, was called up to start in the Metropolitan earlier this week to help fill the void left by three scratchings.
"We gained a start, thankfully. It's a good race, but I think he's certainly made the right progress to be competitive in a race like this," Lees said.
Also at Randwick on Saturday, Lees has Never Talk in the last alongside Sam Kavanagh's Ever Loyal while Perry's entered Saquon, Olympic Gaze and Pandano across the meeting.
Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer lists untried Hard To Say in the group 3 Arrowfield Breeders' Plate (1000m).
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