Kris Lees Takes A Spot In The Archer

Provincial Racing News April 16 2024


APRIL 16, 2024: THE provincials will have dual representation in regional Queensland’s richest race.

Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees on Tuesday afternoon confirmed Ucalledit will join Hawkesbury trainer Ed Cummings’ Group 1 placegetter and last weekend’s Provincial-Midway Championships Final runner-up Strait Acer in the $775,000 The Archer at Rockhampton on Sunday week.

The 1300m feature is being run for the third time, and Lees has had two previous unsuccessful attempts to win it.

Gem Song (fifth) and Ventura Ocean (seventh) ran in Emerald Kingdom’s inaugural 2022 race, and Animate (sixth) and Gem Song (ninth) contested last year’s renewal when Gold Coast-trained Alpine Edge beat the now retired Emerald Kingdom.

Ucalledit has filled the last spot in the 12-horse field, with The Archer to be run at weight-for-age.

With 61kg, he was one of three Lees’ nominations for Saturday’s Benchmark 100 Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick – Kinloch (58kg) and Razeta (54kg) were the others – but will not be an acceptor.

“He will go to our Gold Coast stable later this week, and then go on to Rockhampton next week,” Lees said.

“Australian Bloodstock was keen to have a runner in the race.

“At this stage, we haven’t confirmed a rider for Ucalledit.”

Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock share a slot in The Archer with Rockhampton couple Ron and Jill Milne.

Former New Zealander Ucalledit, who has won 10 of his 30 starts, has never raced on Rockhampton’s spacious track, but is no stranger to Queensland.

He won three races in a row there toward the end of 2022, culminating with the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm.

The six-year-old gelding last winter won two 1400m Listed races at Royal Randwick – the Civic Stakes and Winter Stakes.

Lees also confirmed his gallant Sydney Cup placegetter Kalapour will have a break.

“He ran a terrific race when third in the Cup (3200m) at Randwick last Saturday, and has earned a rest,” he said.

Lees also has announced plans for stablemates Tavi Time and Willinga Beast, who ran fifth and seventh respectively to Territory Express in last Saturday’s $1m Provincial-Midway Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick.

“Tavi Time’s chances went out the window when he struck trouble at the start, and in the circumstances ran well,” he said.

“We’ll give him his chance in the $500,000 The Coast (1600m) at the Gosford metropolitan meeting on May 11.

“The extra distance is certainly going to suit him.

“Willinga Beast will go to the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting on May 4, and run in the $250,000 Group 3 Crown (1300m) against her own sex.”

Lees won the second running of The Coast in 2022 with Rustic Steel, who also that year won both the Scone Cup (1600m) and inaugural Big Dance (1600m) at Randwick.

Last year’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks winner Amokura won a 1000m Newcastle barrier trial last Friday, and isn’t far off returning to the races.