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Newcastle’s favourite son Kris Lees finally managed to win the race that had alluded both him and his legendary father Max with Mugatoo sweeping home to a sweet victory in Friday’s Newcastle Cup.

Lees, a 15-time Group 1 winning trainer, had come close numerous times in his home-town feature but sealed the deal thanks to a copybook ride by three time Melbourne Cup and dual Everest winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy.

‘’I am very relieved and very grateful too,’’ Lees said. “It’s not a time honoured event for some but it’s our home-town Cup and it means a lot to a lot of people. Australian Bloodstock are all Newcastle boys so it is very rewarding and a great feeling.’’

Australian Bloodstock import Mugatoo was a heavy favourite come post time off the back of some scintillating wins in the lead-up to yesterday’s feature.

McEvoy had the gelding perfectly placed in the middle of a strung out field striding up four wide into the straight overhauling the leader and eventual runner-up Hush Writer inside the last 100m.

“I was a little bit worried on straightening, he just wanted to lay in a touch I thought, but he is a really good horse and he has got a bright future.’’

Lees has a happy dilemma where to head next with Mugatoo who could readily take beating in an Epsom Handicap over the mile or the Metropolitan at 2400m on the same day, October 3 at Royal Randwick.

‘’I would suggest he is probably Epsom bound but we will just see,’’ Lees said. “If he gets a penalty (in the Epsom) we might have to look elsewhere.’’

The TAB reacted immediately to Mugatoo’s comprehensive win in the Steel City slashing his Epsom quote from $51 into $15 and halving his Metropolitan price into a pronounced $2.80 favourite.

Lees’ and Australian Bloodstock almost pulled off a dream result in yesterday’s Newcastle Cup with Attention Run backing up last year’s placing with another third in the 2020 feature.

“She was brave and she has got a good race in her in the right conditions,’’ Lees said.

Japanese bred stayer Hush Writer was nothing but brave again from the front in his quest for back to back Newcastle Cups.

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