Kris Lees was eyeing Melbourne spring group 1 glory with Invincible Gem after she beat stablemate Le Romain to help give her Newcastle trainer a flying start to the season.
Corey Brown and Invincible Gem win the Missile Stakes. Picture: AAP
Invincible Gem, a $9.50 chance on Friday, delivered for punters who crunched her into $6.50 for the group 2 Missile Stakes (1200 metres) at Randwick on Saturday.
Following Wahng Wah’s win for Lees in race two (1800m), Invincible Gem and jockey Corey Brown settled sixth on the fence before trailing $1.95 favourite Le Romain(Glyn Schofield) into the race and powering past him at the 100m mark en route to a 1.3-length victory. Scone trainer Brett Cavanough’s The Monstar was a narrow third to secure a Hunter-trained trifecta.
Lees was thrilled with his mare, which won four of seven starts last preparation, including victory in the Newcastle Spring Stakes, before a close second in the group 1 Randwick Guineas.
He was looking to the$400,000 group 2Golden Pendant(1400m) atRosehill on September 23 before the impressive first-up win, which put the group 1 Myer Classic at Flemington firmly in the frame.
“She’s come back in super order,” Lees told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“She’s been doing a lot of work with [Le Romain] and he’s probably worked a little better than her at home, but she’s a high-quality mare now.
Invincible Gem finishes over the top of stablemate Le Romain for an explosive win in the G2 Missile Stakes at #Randwick! pic.twitter苏州夜网/dh2XjHZDO3
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) August 5, 2017Wahng Wah comes from off the speed and attacks the line to take out #TheRaces Handicap at #Randwick for @Leesracing. pic.twitter苏州夜网/iKA2nlITJb
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) August 5, 2017
The performances, and seconds for Launch Code and Admiral Jello, point to another big season ahead for Lees, who is coming off his personal best campaignof 161 winners nationwide, four group 1 victories and more than $9 million in prizemoney.
On Sunday, Lees won with Grasslands in the opener at Muswellbrook, where Newcastle trainer Ben Smith claimed the Bengalla Cup with Anecdote.