~~Newcastle’s Kris Lees is eyeing off a big couple of weeks with what he regards as “genuine chances” in features over the next 10 days starting on Saturday at Randwick.

Last weekend, Lees ventured home more than satisfied when new acquisitions Thump and Lucia Valentina finished first and third respectively in the Group II Surround Stakes while Sharnee Rose stormed home for second in the Group III Wiggle Stakes.

Next Wednesday, the autumn racing caravan heads to Newcastle for the $125,000 Group III Newcastle Newmarket (1400m) where Lees will produce his highly-regarded French import, the unfortunately named, Slow Pace.

Slow Pace has won four of his 15 starts at distances between 1600 and 2400 metres and had his last start in August last year when third to Tres Blue in the Group II Deauville Grand Prix (2500m).

“His past record says the 1400 metres is short of his best but he’s a lovely horse and his work has been very good,” Lees said. “Next week will be a bit of a ‘look and learn’ but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well. He’s a nice horse.”

Then next Saturday, Lees will head back to Rosehill where he hopes to launch a three-pronged attack on the $600,000 Group I Coolmore Classic (1500m).

Sharnee Rose will head up the assault with Thump but he is also now hopeful that Lucia Valentina could make the field. Lees moved quickly to engage Chad Schofield to partner the former New Zealand filly.

“I believe her rating has gone up sufficiently after finishing third last weekend to give her a realistic chance of making the field,” he said. “Therefore, the plan is to run the three of them.”

Brenton Avdulla will stay with Sharnee Rose while Christian Reith will take over from Jim Cassidy aboard Thump.

Both Thump and Lucia Valentina will also be entered for the Group II Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) on the same card.

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