NEWCASTLE, Tuesday, February 12, 2013: A first-up tilt at a feature race on his home track is on the cards for French import Pirate Bay.
Trainer Kris Lees revealed today he is seriously contemplating tackling the $120,000 Group 3 Newmarket (1400m) at Broadmeadow on March 20 with the latest of his overseas acquisitions. Pirate Bay (Christian Reith) made his first public outing for his new connections in an unsuitable 800m barrier trial on the Broadmeadow course proper yesterday.
He finished last in the seven-horse trial – won by proven Group 1 sprinter Atomic Force – but was running on nicely and beaten just under three lengths. Importantly, his trainer was satisfied.
“He was very strong through the line; it was a good sign,” Lees said today.
“Pirate Bay is a nice horse and has acclimatised well.
“I’m giving serious thought to running him in the Newmarket; hopefully we will get a start.”
Pirate Bay, by Hawk Wing from Sadler’s Wells mare Poughkeepsie, has raced only nine times for three wins – two over 2000m and the other over 2100m. Two of those victories were by decisive margins. He arrived in Australia in November and spent three weeks in quarantine before arriving at Lees’ stables in early December.
Meanwhile, German import Hathras – an eye-catching local debut third for the stable at Broadmeadow last Saturday – will have his next start in Sydney. Hathras was closing strongly late over 1500m, and Lees will step him up to 1800m in a Benchmark 75 Handicap at Rosehill Gardens on March 2.
“He hit a flat spot at one point during the race last Saturday, but lengthened nicely at the end,” Lees said.
“The longer distances look as though they are really going to suit him as his overseas form indicates.”