With a Group One up for grabs in Brisbane and more than 20 runners over the two-day carnival at Scone, trainer Kris Lees will have every chance to cap what has already been a momentous week.
Lees was inducted into the Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall Of Fame on Tuesday, joining his late father Max who was among the inaugural inductees two years ago.
“It’s a huge honour. It’s very humbling to be inducted, especially with my father already being in,” Lees said.
The Newcastle trainer won’t have much time to celebrate with a huge team of horses to ready for the feature race days at Scone and the consistent Tactical Advantage to prepare for Saturday’s Group One Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane.
Tactical Advantage was also nominated for the Scone carnival but Lees said the 10,000 was always the favoured option.
The winner of the Listed Takeover Target Stakes in January, Tactical Advantage resumed with a brave second in the Hawkesbury Rush when he conceded six-and-a-half kilos to the winner, Intuition.
“It’s a big jump in grade but I think he’s ready for it,” Lees said.
“He’s been carrying big weights in handicaps and it’s time to test him at that level.”
Lees will have numbers on his side at Scone with seven runners on the opening day of the carnival on Friday and double that number of horses spread across eight races on Saturday.
Among them is recent stable acquisition Take It Intern who the trainer hopes can deliver him a long-awaited victory in Friday’s Listed Scone Cup (1600m).
“He’s had one run for the stable and ran a nice fourth in Sydney on All Aged Stakes day and he’ll be better suited at the mile,” Lees said.
“It’s a race I’ve never been able to win, the Scone Cup, so hopefully I can do a bit better this year.”
Coolmore Classic placegetter Princess Posh has been paid up for two races on Saturday and Lees was keen to have a closer look at the fields before deciding if she will line up in the Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) or join stablemate Asharani in the Dark Jewel Classic (1400m).
The mare, who will be auctioned at the Magic Millions broodmare sale later this month, has been given an easy time since her midfield finish in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick on April 13.
“Her run was OK, she just couldn’t get the right type of run but we’d always decided to give her a bit of a freshen and she’s reacted well under these circumstances before,” Lees said.
“Asharani was unlucky in the James Carr and she could easily figure. She’s on the way up and I expect her to run well.”