Kris Lees believes Invincible Gem is back to her best for Saturday’s group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400 metres) at Caulfielda year after a life-threatening bowel obstruction.
FIRING: The Kris Lees-trained Invincible Gem winning the group 2 Missile Stakes at Randwick in August 2017. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir
The marewas on track for a maiden Melbourne spring campaign last year after winning the group 2 Missile Stakes on resumption and backing up with third in the Tramway Stakes at Randwick in September.
However, colic surgery ended her preparation and she recovered to return with a third in the group 1 Canterbury Stakes in March. She was unplaced four times in group 1 company after that but was also third in the listed Luskin Star Stakes at Scone.
Lees believed the now five-year-old was primed to reproduce her best after an encouraging start to this campaign. Invincible Gemwas sixth in the group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago, butshe was only a half-length away from Redzel and Trapeze Artist, which ran one-two in the $13 million Everest (1200m) last Saturday.
“She had colic and it put her out for the spring,” Lees said Friday.“She’s had one prep back that was OK without winning, but her return run the other day would suggest she’s back to her best for mine. But she’ll need to be, it’s a tough race tomorrow.”
Invincible Gem rose quickly through the ranks as a three-year-old, winning four times, including in the group 3 Spring Stakes before a closesecondin the group 1 Randwick Guineas.
Lees said she would have likely raced in the Tristarc Stakes last year if fit.
“It’s a good lead in to the Myer Classic all being well,” he said.
From barrier eight with James McDonald aboard, she was a $9.50 chance with TAB Fixed Odds.
Lees was set to also racePrized Icon in the group 3 Coongy Cup (2000m) at Caulfield but he was scratched on Friday and will likely next figure in theCrystal Mile next week or Kennedy Mile in two.
“He’s just got a bit of mucus in his airwaves,” Lees said.“It’s nothing significant but enough to save him for another day.”
Newcastle trainer Paul Perry has Perast from gate 10 in the group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m).
At Randwick, Lees will chase black-type for colt The Tenor, a last-start winner at Gosford,in the Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m).
“It’s a very good race this year, but he’s a smart horse,” he said. “He was very tough in winning against moderate opposition, so we’ll see where he is at.”
Meanwhile, he said Le Romain would likely head tothe group 1 Kennedy Mile on November 3 following his fourth in the Everest.
“It’s three weeks into the mile, I think we’ll be able to prepare him for it,” he said.“I think it’s probably a better option than staying at 1200. I think the Darley Stakes is going to be a really hot race.”