By Glenn Davis
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees continues to grow his Gold Coast satellite stable which will be represented by three runners at Doomben on Saturday.
Lees decided to increase his Queensland presence late last year with plans to have up to 20 horses in training.
He currently has around 12 horses in work under the care of Gold Coast trainer Mel Eggleston who once worked as foreman for Lees’ late father, Max Lees.
Lees has trained nine winners this season in Brisbane and is currently second to Chris Waller in the NSW trainers’ premiership with 106 wins.
Eggleston still trains a small team in his own right while helping Lees' Gold Coast stable.
Lees has booked premier jockey Jeff Lloyd to partner Star Reflection in the Open Handicap (1350m) and Raay Of Dreams in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1200m) while Larry Cassidy rides Pickelhaube in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (2200m).
Lees rates Star Reflection as the pick of his trio and is weighing up whether she should return to Sydney for a Stakes race during the autumn carnival.
Star Reflection recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in her career when successful at Randwick in December and the Gold Coast last month.
The six-year-old daughter of Time Thief just failed to complete a hat-trick of wins when runner-up to the Chris Munce-trained Snoopy over 1200 metres at Eagle Farm on January 19.
“She’s been very consistent right throughout her career and she’ll appreciate the bit of rain up there this week,” Lees said.
“Her last run was very good. She was a bit slow away and was dropping back in distance to 1200 metres.
“They were probably a little too sharp from her that day.
“If she wins, I’m thinking about bringing her home for a Stakes race in the autumn. There’s one on just about every week for her.”
Star Reflection has raced three times at Stakes level with her best effort when fourth in the Group 3 Birthday Card at Rosehill in March last year.
Lees also believes Raay Of Dreams will be competitive after placing at her only two starts at Tamworth and the Sunshine Coast.
“Her last run when third in Brisbane was very good,” he said.
“She had no luck in running but she still hit the line strongly.
“I think Pickelhaube is a bit limited but he’s an ex-Darley horse and gets his chance this time.”
Racing Queensland webnews February 7