Bowman, Oliver and Lees give us a turf treat

Punters and boozers alike were well satisfied by Royal Randwick on Saturday, with outstanding features, including the performance of Kris Lees from Broadmeadow.
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Strangely, 25,195 attended, more than the previous week, 22,615, which had a better program, including the outstanding mare Winx in the Doncaster, plus Ronan Keating warbling after the final event.

However, racegoers had a turf treat on Day 2 of The Championships, with Hugh Bowman in the saddle maintaining his George Moore touch and Damien Oliver confirming his champion qualities.

Still the effort of Lees sustained the reputation of Coalfield greats, like Beauford, Luskin Star and Choisir, and those that made them, rated highly.

Also, mastermind Lloyd Williams continued his magnificent record with two milers, taking the Sydney Cup with Gallante under Kerrin McEvoy’s superb judgment of pace in distance races.

Earlier in the day, Williams declared on Sky Sports radio that John Messara should control the racing industry, which was surprising considering he is already chairman of Racing NSW and the Australian Racing Board.

Messara is a driving force behind the Championships and the overvalued $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, chasing overseas interest. Surely the same horses on Saturday would have raced for $2m and less-than-top internationals would hardly have lifted the profile or betting turnover.

While The Championships this year have been strong, they have been no better than the traditional Golden Slipper program nor the previous autumn carnivals at Randwick, when the Doncaster and AJC Derby were on Easter Saturday.

Yes, the attendance for the 2016 Queen Elizabeth  was satisfying, particularly with the 35,000-plus at the late afternoon Swans match at the nearby Sydney Cricket Ground.

With queues at the ladies’ dunny, the crowd was genuine, although not in the numbers of Easters past when females, out of necessity, have had to crash the gents.

Perhaps the awareness of racing due to Winx influenced many to head to the venue that was really swinging in brilliant sunshine.

On course, the action was superb apart from the Kathy O’Hara Oaks spill in which Bowman again got the best out of what could have been a difficult mount, New Zealand filly Sofia Rosa, one of his four successes.

Ollie notched three winners, including Lucia Valentina, another Kiwi but in latter campaigns prepared by Lees, who tuned her perfectly for the big prize.

Lees is no newcomer to group majors but his effort in the Provincial Championships, better value for the industry at $400,000 than the Queen Elizabeth, was exceptional.

Since Chris Waller came to Sydney, big numbers for the one stable in a race is hardly a remarkable thing but Lees produced eight starters, who had to qualify in the Provincial Championships.

Before the race, the team lookedin top order, and Lees produced three of the first four placings: Danish Twist first, with Powerline in second place and Zestful finishing fourth.

Thus the Lees effort produced recollections of Beauford, from the 1920s, who gave champions their comeuppance. Beauford was beaten at his Maitland debut but went on to clash with Gloaming, the best of his era, four times for a two-all result. He also held a decision over Eurythmic, described as “truly great”.

No doubt Luskin Star, trained by Max Lees, father of Kris, as a two-year-old, held the same title winning eight out of nine and being one of the greatest Golden Slipper winners.

And no Broadmeadow flashback would be complete without Choisirwho, under Paul Perry, trail-blazed to Royal Ascot, opening a horizon for Australian sprinters. And we drink to them with the same gusto as those filling up after the last at Randwick on Saturday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.