Kris Lees flying filly Designer Maid smashed the Newcastle 900 metre record in the opening event on Saturday. Designer Maid was the $2.20 favourite in a quality Class 2 Handicap and she led from the outset. Second favourite Invincible Lad ($3.80) sat on the outside of the winner to well in the straight where Designer Maid kicked away. Musical Genius, a $5.50 chance finished strongly along the rail to get within 1.15 of a length of the winner with Invincible Lad a tiring third a length and a quarter away.
Aided by a tail wind down the home straight, Designer Maid sped over the 900-metre course in a sizzling 50-19 which was .72 quicker than Latin Boys track record set in March this year. The filly came home the last 600 metres in an amazing 31-97.
Designer Maid has won three of her four starts over the short courses at Taree and Newcastle twice. The three-year-old was bred by Lees’ mother Vicki and she races the speedster in partnership with a group that includes Kellie Lovett and Sharon Parkinson. Designer Maid races in the Australian Bloodstock colours. Kris Lees made a rare appearance at a Newcastle Saturday meeting and he was full of praise for his filly. “There was a tail wind up the straight, but it was a good effort from this filly. She is very quick, and I was always confident during the race as she runs a strong 900. I will restrict Designer Maid to the short courses for the time being and I will probably run her in a 1000 metre race on the Kensington track on New Year’s Day. Mum owns Homegrown, this filly’s mother and dad trained her. She has had a number of foals including Rad, one of Hong Kong’s top sprinters of his time. The Australian Bloodstock boys owned Group 1 winner Master Of Design which is now a successful sire and we mated Homegrown with him. We bred Designer Maid on a foal share arrangement with the Bloodstock boys.” Lees said.
Lees only had three runners at Newcastle and he had a hard luck story to tell after race 5, the 900 metre 3 YO Maiden Plate. Lees three-year-old Exdream finishing third just over a length from the winner Wonderbabe. Exdream was racing on the outside of the winner chasing the leader Solera approaching the 600 metres. Wonderbabe got her head up and shifted abruptly, carrying Exdream much wider. “My horse was a bit stiff. We probably would have protested if we finished second.” Lees said. Wonderbabe was backed from $3 to $1.95 and she confirmed her potential.
A $400,000 yearling the Brad Widdup trainer filly knuckled down after the mishap at the ‘600’ and was strong to the line. Widdup was impressed. “She is not really a 900-metre horse and the filly will be much better over more ground. I said before the race that Wonderbabe is another preparation away and I haven’t changed my opinion. I will only give her another run or two then send her to paddock.” Widdup said.
The Hawkesbury based trainer completed a double for the meeting when Celesia saluted in the 1400 metre Fillies and Mares Maiden. Grant Buckley took the riding honours with a treble and Andrew Gibbons and Digger McLellan both finished with doubles. Wyong trainer Damien Lane and former Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie combined with two winners, Oakfield Missile and Oakfield Captain.