Comeback galloper Gem Song has scored a last-stride win in the Newcastle Newmarket to give Kris Lees his third consecutive success in the Group Three sprint.
Newcastle continues to be a happy hunting ground for top trainer Kris Lees with Gem Song delivering him his latest feature race success at his home track.
Lees has now won the 1400 metre race three years in succession with Princess Posh scoring in 2019 and Special Reward 12 months ago.
Gem Song’s win comes six months after Lees claimed a coveted first win in his hometown Cup with subsequent Group One placegetter Mugatoo.
For Lees, Gem Song’s win brought a mixture of pride and relief following the five-year-old’s rehabilitation from a suspensory injury which sidelined him for 15 months.
“All the staff, my farm and everywhere, have put a lot of work into this horse. He has been off a long time and some good people have a share in this horse,” Lees said.
“It’s a really rewarding win.”
Gem Song ($4.40) settled in the second half of the field before getting to the outside in the straight.
He responded to the desperate urgings of Nash Rawiller to nail Bottega ($3.80 fav) by a short head with Cascadian ($4.60) another length away third.
Lees admitted he wasn’t confident Gem Song had won.
“I thought he got beat on the line so it was relieving when the number went in the frame,” he said.
Rawiller said Gem Song had found his right race but having had so long off the scene he needed some hard riding over the final stages.
“If anything, I felt he lacked a bit of confidence. When he got to Bottega he didn’t know to go and do the job but thankfully we got the photo,” Rawiller said.
“Obviously he’s had his issues and that’s what has probably stopped him being one of the topliners by this stage.”
Written by Mandy Cottell