NEWCASTLE: Friday, June 21, 2013: TRAINER Kris Lees has changed tack with smart sprinter Whitlam and cancelled plans to chase Grafton’s feature sprint next month with him.
Instead of tackling the $150,000 Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton on July 10, Whitlam will be out to improve on his excellent first-up record at Rosehill Gardens four days earlier in a Benchmark 95 Handicap (1100m). Lees feels it will be a more suitable assignment.
“We were thinking about going to Grafton, but it was going to be a rush to get him there,” he said today.
“The horse is going well, likes Rosehill and of course we know he performs fresh.
“He should be hard to beat first-up.”
Whitlam, a former member of the Darley camp, was purchased late last year by Australian Bloodstock and has quickly reaped a return for his new owners.
He has raced only three times for Lees – for two wins. Importantly, both were over the Rosehill 1100m. He scored first-up for his new stable in a Benchmark 80 Handicap on December 15, then was freshened and won again in a Benchmark 84 Handicap on February 2. Whitlam was spelled after finishing sixth to Altered Boy in a Benchmark 85 Handicap (1200m), again at Rosehill, on March 2.
The four-year-old has raced 18 times so far for four wins and eight placings and his prizemoney earnings are just shy of $200,000. His two earlier successes were at Victorian provincial tracks in 2011- and one of those was also when he was first-up.
Whitlam has trialled twice in readiness for a new preparation. He finished second over 800m on his home track on June 7 and then won a 1000m trial at Wyong on Monday.