Trainers are rarely upbeat after their horse draws an outside barrier, but Sterling Alexiou is more than happy for Lease to run from a wide alley at Rosehill.
A recent addition to the stable, the Bondi Stakes placegetter has gate 16 of 17 in the Barry Cook Handicap (1300m) on Saturday, a draw Alexiou says should work in favour of the on-pace runner.
“Drawn out there is a positive for him,” Alexiou said.
“It gives him the opportunity to work across at his own leisure because he’s not a horse you need to be pulling and pushing around, you get him into his rhythm and he’s got a high-cruising speed and he can kick off it.”
The three-year-old has just a lone win from 14 starts but he has been competitive in some handy races.
Along with his third to Hilal in the Bondi Stakes, he finished fourth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle, although Alexiou concedes their goal will be to help the colt improve his winning strikerate.
Lease appears well placed to do that on Saturday when he drops 3.5kg from the 58kg he carted first-up, added to the fact that his only win came second-up from a spell.
He put the writing on the wall when boxing on for third to Moon Reader at his first run for the team last month and has continued to thrive since then.
“He was probably a run short first-up. We expected him to run very well without winning and he ran a cheeky little race there and just blew out late,” Alexiou said.
“He has taken good improvement from that, he’s had three weeks between runs and we have kept him up to the mark with a jump out on Tuesday.
“Down in the weights, I think he will look like the winner for a long way.”
Lease was a $6.50 chance with TAB fixed odds on Thursday, behind equal $4.80 favouritesTitanium Power and El Buena.