Kris Lees will have five runners in the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships Final at Randwick on April 11 after his lightly raced three-year-old Animate won the transferred Wyong Qualifier at Newcastle on Tuesday.
Lees had already qualified Stella Sea Sun, Great Danger, Enchanted Heart and Asharani for the rich final and he saddled up seven horses in Tuesday’s Qualifier.
Animate was an $8 chance behind $5.50 equal favourites Juventis and Miss Scorcher and the three-year-old was dominate. The most inexperienced runner in the race, Animate settled near the tail of the field and when Andrew Gibbons revved him up in the straight, he sprinted quickly to put the issue beyond doubt.
The son of Animal Kingdom has come along way since going to down by a nose in a Taree Maiden. His record stands at 4 wins and 2 placings from 6 starts.
Animate is raced by Lees’ major client Australian Bloodstock. Gibbons has ridden Animate in five of his six starts. “The transfer of the race to Newcastle was good for Animate, because I was able to ride him patiently knowing he would have plenty of time to unwind down the long straight.
Animate is a serious horse. I can’t believe how easy he sprinted past them. He is going to be a really nice horse. It’s a shame I can’t ride him in the Final,” Gibbons said.
Newcastle’s premier jockey finished the day with a treble after winning on Kim Waugh’s pair Bethencourt and Trajection. Samantha Clenton and Grant Buckley both finished with doubles and James Cummings likewise.
Paul Perry’s in form stayer Into The Oblivion, completed a hat trick of wins when he stormed home to win an 1875 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap. It was the first time in the history of Newcastle Racecourse that the venue hosted on eleven race program.