Kris Lees will saddle up four mares as he ramps up his bid to win a Coolmore Classic, the race his late father Max made his own.
Max Lees holds the training record for the Group One fillies and mares feature with five wins and while Kris Lees has come close to adding to the family haul – his horses finished second and third last year – he still covets an elusive win.
The leading Newcastle trainer has weight of numbers to land a breakthrough at Rosehill on Saturday with topweight Invincible Gem, 2019 runner-up El Dorado Dreaming, Delectation Girl and Miss Fabulass.
“I had three in it last year. I think I need 16 to get a win,” Lees said.
“But it’s a typical Coolmore, there are no standouts.”
While Lees’ quartet are all at double-figure odds after the declaration of the final field on Wednesday, each has claims in an open race.
Invincible Gem proved her toughness when she lumped 59kg and was narrowly edged out by Quackerjack in the Villiers Stakes during the summer.
However, an outside barrier has made her task harder and with 58kg she will need to defy recent history.
Sunline is the last mare to carry more weight and win, the champion carting 60kg to victory in 2000 and 2002.
“With all due respect to her, she is no Sunline but there are no Sunlines in the race either,” Lees said.
“I couldn’t be happier with her but she is going to need a few favours.”
El Dorado Dreaming has a sole win to her name in the Sires’ Produce Stakes two years ago but was not beaten far despite finishing down the track first-up in the Liverpool City Cup.
She was second to Dixie Blossoms in last year’s Coolmore and Lees cannot fault her.
“El Dorado Dreaming has been a long time out of the winner’s stall but she ran second last year and I feel she is going as good as last year at home,” Lees said.
Delectation Girl will take her place on an eight day back-up after finishing runner-up to stablemate Special Reward in the Newcastle Newmarket, while the enigmatic Miss Fabulass could be the surprise packet.
The mare has an explosive turn of foot on her day and if the race is run at a solid tempo, she could be the one swooping late.
“She is one of those mares where, if we get the right set up, she is going to be strong late and she could easily run a race,” Lees said.
A field of 16 has been accepted for the Group One Coolmore Classic (1500m) with Sylvia’s Mother and Sweet Deal sharing early favouritism at $4.40.