Kris Lees saddled up five favourites at Cessnock on Monday for three winners and two seconds. The Hall of Fame trainer was successful with So You Merge ($2) Bubbles Ball ($1.55) and Exdream ($3.10) while his two runners up were Jazette ($1.35) and Brazenbrook ($1.95)
Race 1- Sharp Electronics Group Benchmark 58 2125m
The well-bred mare So You Merge, daughter of an Adelaide Cup winner, notched up her fourth win after a chequered path in the straight. Given a perfect run by Andrew Gibbons, So You Merge was cut out when attempting a run between the leaders in the straight. She got going again and grabbed the lead on the post.
Race 2- Top Cut Foods Benchmark 58 Handicap 900m
Bubbles Ball was all the rage on the back of a good trial behind Bon Amis. The filly didn’t have the speed to cross, so Aaron Bullock restrained her to take a trail. When making a run around the field on the home turn, Bubbles Ball was forced very wide and looked to have the task ahead, however she knuckled down and stormed home to win by half a length. The winner is very smart and the runner up Engadine is ready to win.
Race 3- Yarraman Park F&M Class 1- 1150m
The Lees trained Jazette sat outside the leader before taking the lead in the straight, however she was nailed on the post by the Paul Perry trained Without Conviction. The latter was bred by Choisir’s part owner Terry Wallace and is raced by the Wallace and Perry families. The filly dropped sharply in class after two creditable performances since resuming from a spell.
Race 4- Cessnock Advertiser Maiden Plate 1350m
Warwick Farm filly Punch The Clock run up to her recent impressive trial when she held off favourite Brazenbrook down the straight. It was only the winners second start and she is trained by Bryce Heys. Chad Lever who is to be married in two weeks was aboard the winner.
Race 5- Hungerford Hill Wines- Maiden Handicap 900m
Backers of long odds on favourite She’s My Girl had some nervous moments before the filly hit the front in the shadows of the post.
She’s My Girl was outplaced in the run to the turn and she was held up in the straight before seeing daylight.
The winner’s trainer Brett Partelle has a good strike rate at Cessnock.
Race 6- Coastline Pools & Spas Maiden Handicap 1150m
Silly Sally sporting blinkers for the first time led throughout and she was never challenged to win easily. Hawkesbury based Matthew Vella trains the winner and it was a well-judged ride by Lever.
Race 7- Cessnock Leagues Club CG&E Class 1 Handicap 1150m
Three-year-old Exdream resumed from a spell and despite a betting drift finished strongly to gain the upper hand. He was given a perfect ride by Gibbons and the gelding is in for a good preparation. The win was the third for the day for Kris Lees.
Race 8- East Cessnock Bowling Club Class 3 Handicap- 1570m
Wyong trained Equilibrium unlucky in recent starts nailed top weight Chamisal on the post to win by half a head. It was a welcome change of luck for trainer Tracey Bartley as his smart sprinter In Good Time has been stiff in town at recent starts during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.