Mugatoo for Lees in the Doncaster

09 April 2021 02:13:29 GMTPlus10

Kris Lees will rely solely on All-Star Mile hero Mugatoo in his quest for a first Group 1 Doncaster Mile win on Saturday after stablemate Gem Song pulled up sore following trackwork on Thursday and was scratched.

But the trainer still has arguably his best chance yet to carve out a first for his famous Newcastle, New South Wales racing family. His late father, legendary trainer Max Lees, was unable to win the Randwick feature.

"I haven't had a great deal of runners," Lees said. "Sense Of Occasion ran third and that's probably our best result."

Mugatoo heads into the $3million race as favourite after out-battling Russian Camelot to win the All-Star Mile by half a length at Moonee Valley last month. The import, previously trained by David Simcock in England, is better known over middle-distances but Lees is confident he remains sharp enough for what is widely regarded as a testing mile at Randwick.

"I've spaced his gallops and runs and kept him that little bit sharper for it," Lees said. "With the four-week gap between runs and just a few other little things, it looks like this program works nicely for him. It's a Doncaster and luck will play its part but I'm pretty happy with where he's at."

Lees has not ruled out backing up Mugatoo against Addeybb, Verry Elleegant and Sir Dragonet in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over a mile and a quarter after his Doncaster Mile assignment.

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