Kris Lees won his second Provincial Championship Final at Randwick on Saturday when his bonnie mare Serene Miss stormed home to win the $500,000 event. One of seven finalists trained by Lees, Serene Miss settled back in the big field before sprinting quickly in the straight to win by a length.
Wyong trained Newsfan was runner up while David Atkins’ Plaisir was a fast finishing third. Newcastle trained horses filled six of the first seven spots. Serene Miss has won six of her seven starts and the only time she was beaten at Canterbury in December the mare was badly blocked for a run until the race was over.
Serene Miss is raced by Judy Wanless who along with husband Ron have been great supporters of the Lees stable for many years. The trainer had concerns about the mare running a strong 1400 metres and the barrier draw did not boast his confidence. “She has a terrific turn of foot and it was good to see her show it over 1400 metres. Serene Miss got on the back of Just Dreaming and she had them covered a long way out. It was great to win the race for Judy and Ron Wanless who have been supporting me since I started training. She can now go to the Godolphin Crown at Hawkesbury or the Dark Jewel Classic at Scone. Serene Miss may go to Brisbane for the Carnival.” Lees said.
It was the Newcastle trainers second win in the four-year history of the Provincial Championships. He won with Danish Twist in 2016 - following the weekends racing Lees has now trained 120 ½ winners for the season for prizemoney of $5,789,968.