Kris Lees got the recipe right with Mustajeer first-up but he admits he is still learning about stablemate and fellow European import Danceteria.
The pair form part of a three-pronged stable assault on Saturday’s Group Three Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, along with another Australian Bloodstock syndication, Attention Run.
Bought to target last year’s Cox Plate, Danceteria did not fire in the weight-for-age championship then again showed little dash when beating one rival home first-up in the recent Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
Lees had anticipated better from Danceteria and hoped a distance rise on Saturday would make a significant difference.
“He seems to be going well at home. We thought he’d look a bit sharper at a mile first-up but he could even be looking for a mile-and-a-half,” Lees said.
“He might be just a run short.
“This run will tell us where we’re at and where we’re going.”
Mustajeer struggled to cope with the occasion when he finished down the track in the Melbourne Cup last spring so Lees worked hard to get the horse in a better mindset.
It paid dividends with Mustajeer resuming to post a classy win in the Parramatta Cup (1900m).
He has since had an exhibition gallop at his home track of Newcastle and Lees expects another competitive performance despite an awkward draw in 10.
“Mustajeer was very good first-up and if he repeats that performance it probably sees him in the finish,” Lees said.
“He does have a bit of a tricky gate so luck in running will play a part there.”
Blinkers go back on Attention Run who tackles the Sky High third-up, although Lees feels she will take further improvement from Saturday’s race.
He is also cautious about the return of Tactical Advantage in the Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m) but expects the 59kg topweight to run his usual, honest race.
“He’s only had the one trial so whether he’s just a little vulnerable with his weight but he will run very well,” Lees said.