By Ray Hickson
Kris Lees doesn’t need to be sold on In Her Time’s ability and ahead of her debut for his stable at Randwick on Saturday the Newcastle trainer says she couldn’t be in a better place.
The Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) serves as a crucial lead up to next month’s $13 million The TAB Everest over the same course with the likes of Redzel, Trapeze Artist, Invincible Star, Shoals and Santa Ana Lane clashing.
In Her Time has managed to win first-up at her past three campaigns, including last year’s Premiere.
Unlike last year the six-year-old has secured her place in The Everest, through TAB, and Lees said she’ll present at Randwick ready to win but with upside.
“It’s a good race but she’s in a good place,’’ Lees said.
“She has a hot first-up record and I think there is room for improvement off the run. She’s pretty adaptable and Corey (Brown) knows her well so there’s plenty of positives.
“I knew how good she is before she turned up, I’ve seen a lot of her. She’s in good order and turned up pretty healthy and fit.’’
Lees took over the training of In Her Time, and stablemate El Dorado Dreaming, earlier this month when her trainer Ben Smith was suspended.
He said given the mare’s record he wouldn’t have changed anything about her preparation if he’d been in control from day one.
Aside from the international runner U S Navy Flag, who arrived in Sydney on Sunday and won’t race before the Everest, In Her Time is the horse punters have been waiting to assess.
Since she arrived at Lees’ stable In Her Time has completed an exhibition gallop and official trial, a close second behind El Dorado Dreaming, with Brown in the saddle.
“When he rode her in that exhibition gallop we were pretty comfortable with where she was at fitness wise so she didn’t need a hard trial,’’ Lees said.
“You want to see a mare as they get a bit older want to be competitive and she showed all the right competitive spirit.
“She hasn’t cleaned right up in the coat but that will come with her run.’’
In Her Time has been sitting at $11 with TAB in its Everest market for some time but expect some fluctuations following this weekend’s racing.
In total, as many as eight of the final 12 runners will have their final lead ups before the October 13 feature with Nature Strip and Brave Smash due to race in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Lees said Clearly Innocent, his runner in the inaugural Everest, is a small chance of resuming in the Sydney Stakes (1200m) on Everest Day.
Clearly Innocent, now seven, had his first trial since the George Ryder Stakes back in March in the same trial as In Her Time.
“He had a soft trial the other day and is still a few weeks away,’’ Lees said.