Newcastle trainer Kris Lees added a hometown Newmarket Handicap to his career honour roll on Friday as Princess Posh set a track record to edge out favourite Savatiano by 0.07 lengths.
Lees had never won the annual Newcastle Jockey Club event, which started in 1955 and was previously collected multiple times by late father Max, and despite leaving it late his five-year-old mare stormed down the straight to claim the group 3 race over 1400 metres.
Princess Posh stopped the clock at one minute, 21.79 seconds to eclipse the 2017 mark of Clevedon May (1:22.04) on the new course proper.
The last 600m was completed in 33.52s.
“I had the back of [stablemate] Invincible Gem from about the 1000 metres and was able to creep into the race without doing any work at all,” Princess Posh jockey Brenton Avdulla said post race.
“Once I presented I knew Savatiano was off and gone, but to my mare’s credit she knuckled down and did the job well.”
Lees, who was en route to Flemington for Saturday’s group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) with star trio Brave Smash, In Her Time and Graff, was represented trackside at Newcastle by Lucas Miller.
“She [Princess Posh] loves this track, that’s five starts and three wins which is a really good effort,” Miller said.
“She got a soft run there, carted into the race and got that real good acceleration in the last furlong.”
Princess Posh, second-up from a spell and starting from barrier 10, was close to last and widest at the final bend.
The James Cummings-trained Savatiano broke a few lengths clear with 200m remaining before Princess Posh responded and clinched the prize on the finish line.
She now joins 2017 champion Happy Clapper, a group 1 winner and runner-up to world record holder Winx, on the Newcastle Newmarket trophy.
It comes six months after Princess Posh’s group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) victory at Newcastle and 12 months after a Provincial Championships qualifier (1400m) success at the same track.
“She’s a beauty, plenty of thrills for everyone,” Princess Posh part-owner and Australian Bloodstock co-director Jamie Lovett said.
Princess Posh, nominated for both the group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and group 1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) at Randwick next month, paid $14.60 for the win on the TAB tote.
Lees’ Invincible Gem was third.
Elsewhere on Friday’s card at Newcastle, Lees and Avdulla also combined in the second with Vendella.