Newcastle mare Princess Posh will bypass the Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale and run in the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400 metres) on June 8 after a brilliant second in the group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) on Saturday.
The Kris Lees-trained five-year-old was set to have her final start in the $700,000 race at Eagle Farm but her fast-finishing, three-quarters of a length second to The Bostonian has convinced owners Australian Bloodstock to postpone her sale.
The Hunter syndication company, headed by Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett, was having a final fling with the two-time group 3 winner before the sales on Tuesday. A $151 chance, Princess Posh earned her biggest cheque – $126,000 – for the second-place effort. A $25,000 buy, she has now won $753,020 in stakes.
Lees, who went to 200 winners for the season on Saturday with Alba Wings’ victory at Gosford, was thrilled with the run of Princess Posh.
Lees wanted to have a crack at the group 1 Kingsford-Smith, rather than group 3 mares event, after Princess Posh worked well in blinkers in the lead-up.
“That was a highlight, to see her run like that, at that level, at weight for age,” Lees said. “She ran super, so the boys have decided to not sell her Tuesday, keep her for another month and run her in the Stradbroke, which I think is a wise decision.
“She’ll be treated better and it’s a similar type of race.”
Lees could have another group 1 runner at Eagle Farm that day after Angel Of Heaven was second to Fun Fact in the group 3 Grand Prix Stakes on Saturday.
The Redoute’s Choice filly has been nominated for next Saturday’s Queensland Oaks but Lees was weighing up a shot at the June 8 Derby.
“I’m going up to have a look at them tomorrow,” Lees said on Sunday.
“She’s already had two runs in the last 10 days, so it’s a matter of if she runs in the Oaks or the Derby. She won’t run in both.”
Lees already has Aliferous, and possibly Itz Lily, in the $500,000 Oaks at Doomben.
Angel Of Heaven and Alba Wings are both owned by Ron and Judi Wanless, who have been long-time supporters of Kris Lees and his late father, Max.
Jockey Darryl McLellan, who also has long ties to the Lees stable, rode Alba Wings to victory, which put the Newcastle trainer past 200 winners in a season for the first time.
“I wish it was 20 minutes earlier when Angel Of Heaven ran second in a group race,” Lees quipped of a Wanless horse taking him to No.200. “It’s just a number, I suppose, but it’s a reflection on our staff and all the hard work they do.”
Alba Wings has won his only two starts and Lees was looking to bigger targets.