Kris Lees believes Sound Proposition is under the radar heading into the Epsom
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees used a familiar template to get Sound Proposition to Saturday’s Epsom Handicap and is excited to finally see his Kiwi group 1 mile winner down in the weights.
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The Savabeel six-year-old only joined the Lees yard in May and has been perfectly managed since then. He has two Randwick wins to his credit at his only two starts there and a gutsy runner-up finish in the Cameron Handicap.
“He has just had big weights since we have had him, so to get into a race like the Epsom with 54 kilos will be a bit of relief to him,” Lees said.
“He has had that run in the Cameron, which was similar to Le Romain last year, and he did his share of work under 59kg and was still there at the end.”
Le Romain had the benefit of a couple runs before his second in the Cameron and went on to run fifth in the Epsom before winning the Cantala Stakes. Sound Proposition has residual fitness from his winter campaign.
“I think it was a pretty similar effort to Le Romain last year, and he ran a great race in the Epsom. I can see Sound Proposition doing the same,” Lees said.
“If he had won at Newcastle I’m sure everyone would be talking about him, but he is sort of under the radar because he got beaten.”
Sound Proposition won last year’s Easter Stakes over 1600m in New Zealand before coming to Australia and appears attractively weighted in the Epsom.
Corey Brown, who takes over from Blake Shinn on Sound Proposition as Shinn will ride Epsom favourite Happy Clapper, liked what he saw in the Cameron.
“I haven’t been on him before but I watched his last run. He did a lot of work in a high-pressure race and was still there at the end,” Brown said. “He is certainly very tough and I think he is ready for the Randwick mile.
“It is good to get on another of Kris’s because we have had a fair bit of luck together since I have been back from Singapore.
“He is the sort of horse that is going to put himself in the race and be there at the end.”
Brown won the Doomben Cup on Sense Of Occasion in May and will link with the seven-year-old again in the Hill Stakes on Saturday. Although he steps to 1800m second-up from a spell, Lees is confident his class will take him a long way in the group 2.
“He is ticking around all right and this race is another good step for him,” Lees said. “He is probably better suited with a bit of cut in the ground but looking at the benchmark rating for those he takes on in the Hill, he has a class edge.
“That is usually a good sign at weight for age.”
Lees also will be looking for another Brisbane winter carnival group 1 winner, Clearly Innocent, to make a winning return in the Premiere Stakes.
“He is flying on the track and if he is going to get a run in the Everest he needs to win,” Lees said.
Meanwhile, Brown will look to get a second group 1 on Terravista in Friday night’s Moir Stakes, and perhaps shoot him into an Everest slot.
Brown barrier-trialled Terravista, on whom he won the Lightning Stakes first-up in the autumn, but said it was hard to get a good feel of how he is going.
“It was as good as the trials. He is a hard horse to get a guide on in trials because he is lazy, but the way he found the line before dropping the bit was very encouraging,” Brown said.
“He has a great record first-up and at 1000m, so if the real Terravista turns up he is going to be hard to hold out.”