After bypassing the Grafton Cup with last-start stakes winner Frankely Awesome, trainer Kris Lees has turned his attention towards running the mare over a shorter distance on Randwick’s Kensington track.
A dual Group One placegetter as a three-year-old in the Vinery Stud Stakes and ATC Australian Oaks, Frankely Awesome claimed her first stakes win in the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2000m) on a soft track at Rosehill at her most recent start on June 27.
The mare headlines nominations for Saturday’s 1800m benchmark-94 race having been scratched from last Thursday’s Listed Grafton Cup (2350m).
Lees opted not to send the mare to Grafton after she drew wide and was unlikely to get conditions to suit, with the race run on a good-rated surface.
The form out of her McKell Cup win stood up at Grafton, with her stablemate Sixties Groove defeating the Chris Waller-trained duo The Lord Mayor and Carzoff.
That trio all finished in the top four behind Frankely Awesome in the McKell Cup.
The Kensington track was rated in the heavy range on Monday, with rain forecast during the week, and Lees is hoping a real testing track will negate the drop in distance.
“It’s not ideal coming back to 1800 metres but it is looking likely that she will get conditions to suit looking at the weather forecast,” Lees said.
“She’ll have a bit of weight but (apprentice) Louise Day will ride her to utilise her claim.”
Day, who claims 3kg in town, has ridden 45 winners this season including six in Sydney.
Lees said Frankely Awesome was the class runner of his three nominations, with stablemates Mawaany Machine and High Opinion are also scheduled to take their place in the race.
Eight-year-old High Opinion has won two of his past three starts, both on heavy tracks, including a benchmark-88 over 1800m at Randwick last Saturday week dropping back from 2400m.
“He’s doing a good job on these type of tracks,” Lees said.
“He probably surprised us a touch when he freshened up nice and reacted well at the 1800 last start.
“He’s another one who might want that touch further but again I’m banking on a soft track.”