Lees has autumn contenders Mustajeer, Danceteria and Attention Run all engaged in the 2000m test as he looks to continue his hot form with stayers in recent weeks.
Mustajeer is Lees’ leading hope after returning in fantastic order to claim the Listed Parramatta Cup.
MUSTAJEER! This promising stayer shows his turn of foot with a great display first up to win the Listed Parramatta 🏆. 1️⃣0️⃣/1️⃣0️⃣ @HugeBowman and @Leesracing! Congratulations to our connections with Red Cardinal running 3rd 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/gc9B4j1JDE
— Australian Bloodstock Updates (@ausbloodstock2) February 22, 2020
“He couldn’t have been more impressive first-up and he has trained on well since,” Lees said.
“It is a bit of a tricky gate (barrier 10). He just needs a bit of luck in the early stages but he gets in well under the set weights and penalties conditions of the race.”
A date with the Group I Tancred Stakes is high on the agenda for Mustajeer, which holds nominations for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Sydney Cup.
Danceteria is also among the Queen Elizabeth nominations but will be looking to recapture his best after two disappointing Australian runs.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding was last and had respiratory issues in the Cox Plate last spring before coming off the bit a long way from home when 12th in the Group I Chipping Norton first-up this preparation.
“I was expecting more first up but he is a lot better at 2000m,” Lees said.
“He was chasing a long way from home and I think he got a bit of a shock to Australian racing, which can happen.
“I think you will see good improvement at 2000m but he might be still a run away.”
Danceteria is rated an $8.50 chance to bounce back on the weekend while Attention Run ($71) is the outsider of the trio.
Lees is keen for Attention Run to get more fitness under her belt.
“This run will bring her right on for longer races and she is going well.”