Kris Lees had to wait 644 days for Special Reward to win again but hopes it’s a fraction of that time to see the enigmatic sprinter repeat the dose in Friday’s Listed Christmas Classic (1200m) at Canterbury.

Special Reward burst back into form last start when causing a boilover at Randwick back on December 11 when surging home from the back to comfortably win the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap.

It was the first time he had saluted since winning the G3 Newcastle Newmarket on March 6, 2020.

The son of Demerit will get the chance to go on with the job when he chases consecutive stakes wins to start the New Year.

“He found his form the other day with a good win in the Razor Sharp,” Lees said.

“He does have a tendency to mix his form so I won’t say he is going to go out and put two wins together but he has come through the run well and looks good.

“Canterbury is not a track where he can get back and run home like he did the other day so I think the barriers are going to be vital.”

Special Reward was on a list of 12 horses nominated on Monday for Christmas Classic however nominations have been extended until Tuesday morning.


Special Reward will run in the Christmas Classic. Picture: AAP Image – Simon Bullard

Meanwhile, nominations for the Listed January Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday are also out with 19 contenders named for the $150,000 feature.

Lees will be targeting a Stakes double in the race with the returning stayer Mustajeer.

The former Ebor Handicap winner was last seen finishing ninth in the Group 3 Manion Cup at Rosehill at the end of March, 2021 and has had one trial in preparation for his return.

“He appears to be coming up okay and has pleased us with his trials after a long time off,” Lees said.

“It was a low grade suspensory injury so we’ve taken it steady with him to get him back.

“We won’t run him if the track gets too firm but there looks to be a bit of rain around later in the week.”

Lees will have a busy week after having a massive team line up at Taree on Monday while the stable will field runners at MuswellbrookWarwick FarmDoomben and Port Macquarie before the weekend.

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