Unbeaten colt Uate is named after one of the National Rugby League’s brightest prospects and he can continue his own rise to prominence if he can win Saturday’s Group One Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Trainer Kris Lees is hopeful Uate, named after the Newcastle Knights’ flying winger Akuila Uate, can gain an edge over some of his rivals by being the fresh horse on the scene in the 1400m juvenile feature at Randwick.
Connections of Uate decided against paying the $150,000 late entry fee to run in last Saturday’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper with the Sires considered a more suitable option for the youngster who has so far risen to every challenge.
“He has come up with a nice gate (two) and I think it has suited him having that little gap (of four weeks) between runs,” Lees said of the Newcastle-trained colt.
“He’ll be the fresh horse on the scene. I’m hoping that’s his advantage, that’s what we are relying on.”
The race attracted 12 acceptors on Wednesday with Elite Falls and Shared Reflections to back up from the Golden Slipper.
Smart Missile and Fast And Sexy, who were both scratched at the barriers in the Slipper, are also in the field after passing a barrier test earlier this week.
Baillieu Handicap winner Do You Think is the other leading chance backing up from Slipper day.
Smart Missile was installed the $3.10 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Do You Think at $5 and Elite Falls at $5.50.
Helmet, who has also had problems at the barriers having been scratched from the Sires’ Produce Stakes in Melbourne last month, is at $6 while Uate went up at $15.
Uate hasn’t been seen since he scored by the barest of margins over Hot Snitzel in the Group Three Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on March 12.
“Obviously it’s a huge class rise for him but Nash (Rawiller) is sticking with him which I think is a big positive,” Lees said.
“He has kept winning, whether he has got the class to win a Group One at this stage is the question, but his manners have improved with each run and he has been pleasing me at home in trackwork.”
Success on Saturday would cap a meteoric rise for the colt who made a winning debut in a maiden on his home track in early February.
A midweek win on the Kensington track followed before he took another step to stakes company in the Skyline.
“He has continued to improve with each run and he has basically come from nowhere,” Lees said.
“We didn’t have a huge opinion but he has just continued to take the necessary steps. He’s a Group Three winner and he has just handled that class rise with each run.”