NEWCASTLE trainer KrisLees believes High Opinion can go further, in distance and class, after returning to the winners’ circle in style following a15-month absence and comeback from a tendon injury.
TEARAWAY: The Kris Lees-trained High Opinion and jockey Tim Clark, left, clear away from the field on Saturday in the 2000m benchmark 81 handicap at Rosehill Gardens before going on to win. Picture: AAP Image/ Brendan Esposito
The six-year-old gelding cruised to a1-3/4-length victory in the benchmark handicap over 2000 metres at Rosehill on Saturday as the$3.80 favourite.
High Opinion, with Tim Clark aboard, sat outsideleader Hunter Jack before taking off at the 200m and holding out the Joe Pride-trained Gamblestown ($12) late.
It followed a luckless fifth at Randwick two weeks earlier over the same trip and two thirds at Canterbury. High Opinion resumed with a last at Rosehill on November 25 after more than a year out of racing with injury.
Before the break, High Opinionwon at Canterbury over 1900m in his third start for Lees after coming from the stables of Chris Heywood.
Lees was looking to a similar race for High Opinion’s next start but was hopeful of the former country cups campaigner, which now has six wins in 31 starts, stepping up in class.
“He broke down and didn’t race for nearly right on 12 months, so it’s good to get him back,” Lees said.
“He did a tendon so he’s done a good job to get back.
“He got a good positive ride from Tim Clark and it was a good win.
“He’ll stay in that grade and there’s another race like that in two weeks.
”I think he’ll run 2400, if the right race presented itself.”
As for a shot at stakes races, he said: “Maybe.If you’ve got a handy Saturdaystayer, there’s plenty of opportunity for them.”
Clark was aboard High Opinion when he wasblocked for a run last start but he was able to push forward early from barrier five on Saturday.
“We wanted to be a little bit closer today,” Clark told AAP. “I didn’t anticipate being outside the leader but that obviously took bad luck out of the equation.
“The good thing about him is he relaxed really well once I got there. He was far too good for them.”
Meanwhile, Lees said Danish Twist would resumein the group 2 Breeders Classic at Warwick Farm next Saturday.
He also said Sunreel, which was secondat Newcastle on Saturday, would likelyback up in the $250,000 Inglis2YO Classic (1200m) on the same program.
On Friday night, Fastnet Rock colt Condor broke through at Canterbury for Newcastle trainer Paul Perry as the odds-on favourite after four placings in five career starts.
In other news, Corey Brown, whorode Condor, has changed the dates of a suspension from Rosehill and will give up the ride onTerravista in the group 1 Lightning Stakes.
Brownwas given a four-meeting ban for low-range careless riding on Exceltic in the Canonbury Stakes.He was to start itimmediately and miss the rich Inglis raceday at Warwick Farm but stewards agreed to begin it onFebruary 12.