Bellatrix Black sets sights on Group 3 triumph in Brisbane

It's Brisbane rather than Sydney for former New Zealand mare Bellatrix Black tomorrow.

Trainer : KRIS LEES
Trainer : KRIS LEES Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Kris Lees chose to send Bellatrix Black  north for the Pam O'Neill Stakes (1600m) at Doomben, and has withdrawn her from the Listed Lord Mayor's Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.

"I felt the softer option was to stick with mares' company at Doomben, and the race carries Group 3 status," Lees said this morning.

"She ran really well without much luck in the straight in the Gosford Cup a fortnight ago, and should have finished in the placings.

"She is deep into her preparation, but back against her own company, I'm expecting her to be very competitive."

Andrew Mallyon rides Bellatrix Black for Lees, who will go to Brisbane to saddle his runners at the Doomben Cup meeting.

Mallyon also partners Loves Me Likearock (Class 3 Plate, 1350m), Ucalledit (Group 3 BRC Sprint, 1350m), and Yankee Hussel (Group 2 The Roses, 2000m).

He is also booked for last week's Gold Coast debut winner Infancy in the Listed Bill Carter 2YO Stakes (1200m), but she is not a certain starter because of a wide draw.

"Loves Me Likearock is in very good form, and if she can get across from a wide barrier, I feel she will be hard to beat," Lees said.

"Ucalled it just blew out late when resuming at the Sunshine Coast a fortnight ago, and has taken improvement from that run.

"He is up against pretty hot company now, but nonetheless can be very competitive."

Lees has withdrawn Wolverine, who drew badly, from The Roses, and is putting ear muffs on Yankee Hussel.

"She raced too keenly and did well in the circumstances when sixth to Renaissance Woman in the Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the Sunshine Coast a fortnight ago," he said.

"Hopefully, the ear muffs will help her relax better."

Stablemate Amokura, a very impressive last start Newcastle winner, is now fourth emergency and seemingly unlikely to gain a start in The Roses.

If not, she will line up on Sunday at the Sunshine Coast in a Class 1 Handicap (1800m), with Mallyon aboard.

. Lees has both Dream Hour (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1500m) and Sir Lamorak (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 2400m) contesting respective races at Rosehill Gardens, and Dylan Gibbons rides the pair.

"Dream Hour ran okay at Gosford at his first start for us since coming from Victoria," Lees said.

"If he gets a decent tempo, he can figure in the finish tomorrow.

"Sir Lamorak has been good at both recent runs at the Hawkesbury and Gosford stand-alone meetings over shorter distances, and is crying out for 2400m.

"He can make his own luck up on the speed, and gets his chance to break through in Sydney."

. Lees has only one acceptor at his home track meeting at Newcastle tomorrow, but Cloudland has drawn the outside in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m), with Kody Nestor booked.

"I'll talk with the owners today, but at this stage I'd say we will still run him," he said.

"Cloudland overraced (when down the track behind runaway winner and stablemate Spangler) in the Provincial-Midway Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick last month, and that is definitely not his true form.

"I've taken blinkers off him, and he has had a tick over trial since at Wyong.

"Cloudland ran second to Short Shorts in track record time in a Kembla Grange Qualifier (1400m) before the Final, and is clearly good enough to bounce back here with any luck in spite of his big weight (62kg)."

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