Trainer Kris Lees is confirmed two runners in the final field for Saturday’s featured Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), but believes in-form mare Thump offers his stable the best chance of success.
Having retired to a career as a broodmare following a disappointing spring preparation last year, Lees revealed Thump would return to training and contest another racing campaign through the 2015 Autumn Carnival and has found exceptional form in winning the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) first-up before a luckless run for sixth when blocked late in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) last time out.
Pleased with the condition of both Thump and fellow entrant Hera, Lees is confident the Red Ransom mare is his greatest chance of 2015 Coolmore Classic success and believes she is more than capable of competitive performance, despite being a slight query at 1500m.
“They will both go around,” Lees told RSN.
“Thump would be the major chance of the two on recent form and she seems to have come back really well.
“She won first-up and it was a nice effort two weeks ago.
“It was a high pressure race and she was up on the speed, the three horses were taking each other on and it was really set up for the backmarkers.
“She is a little bit of a doubt at the trip, but she will put herself in the right spot and I think that she has a good chance in what is not the best Coolmore field that we have seen – outside of possibly an outstanding three-year-old.”
Posting four wins and three minor place finishes from her 18 competitive starts so far, Thump will leave from the central barrier 7 in the Coolmore Classic, has been confirmed to be partnered by Brenton Avdulla and is currently available at a generous quote of $13 for success at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Hera was a standout performer in her native New Zealand before transferring to the care of Lees partway through 2014, and while impressive when taking out the Bradford Soundscreen Handicap (1350m) in November, is yet to find competitive condition this year; finishing 13th in the Group 3 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) last time out.
Likely to receive a competitive run from barrier 6, the O’reilly mare is given little hope of success at $101 odds in 2015 Coolmore Classic betting markets.
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