Tough mare proves she is a true Wanda

Wandabaa has become the “iron lady” of the Kris Lees stable.

She has been in work for more than a year, her form continuing to improve and providing Lees with reason to extend her preparation.

“I’ve been thinking one more run then we might spell her but she comes out and runs a great race every time,’’ Lees said.

Wandabaa, raced by Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell’s Australian Bloodstock, deserves another to break through for a feature race win in the Group 2 $500,000 Hot Danish Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Wandabaa hasn’t missed a place this campaign. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

She goes into the race after three successive stakes placings – second in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes, third in the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes and a last-start second, beaten narrowly by Positive Peace in the Group 3 The Nivison.

“I remember we brought Wandabaa back into work in the spring last year and apart from a couple of freshen ups at the farm, she has been going ever since,’’ Lees said.

“We haven’t given her a spell because she has continues to improve with racing. I remember at the start of this year she was struggling to win in Brisbane but then she put three wins together and hasn’t looked back since.

“She’s a real iron horse, she loves her racing.’’

Wandabaa has had 15 starts during her extended campaign, winning five races and being placed in another eight races. It’s testament to the mare’s resilience and durability — and the trainer’s management — that hasn’t been out of a top three finish in nine successive starts.

But Lees revealed he was considering saving Wandabaa for next week’s $1 million The Hunter on her home track at Newcastle – until the Rosehill surface was downgraded into the soft-heavy range after persistent showers fell in Sydney on Thursday.

“We know Wandabaa likes wet tracks so she will probably start in the Hot Danish now,’’ Lees said.

The champion Newcastle trainer has four mares entered for the Hot Danish Stakes but conceded his representation could be halved at least for the feature Rosehill race.

“Asharani was going to run her but if the track is a bog I will probably save her for next week,’’ Lees said. “If the track isn’t too bad I’d like to run her at Rosehill as she has trained on very well since her good first-up run.

Kris Lees rates Wandabaa the pick of his runners in the Hot Danish Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Evalina struggled on a heavy track last start so I might wait with her but El Dorado Dreaming enjoys wet tracks.

“The concern I have with her is she’s first-up at 1400m on what could be a bog which is not ideal. I’ll wait until Saturday morning to decide which mares will race at Rosehill.’’

Wandabaa is the pick of the Lees foursome for the Hot Danish Stakes, according to TAB Fixed Odds price assessors who have rated her at $7 behind $4.80 favourite Madam Rouge. Asharani is at $16, Evalina $19 and El Dorado Dreaming $23.

Lees said he had also been looking for reasons not to start Mugatoo in the Group 1 $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday – but couldn’t find any.

Mugatoo, another classy imported galloper raced by Australian Bloodstock, is not unlike stablemate Wandabaa as he has had an extended campaign but is racing as well as ever.

Mugatoo lines up in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The six-year-old gelding the Winter Challenge, Premiers Cup and Newcastle Gold Cup before his narrow loss to Mirage Dancer in the Group 1 The Metropolitan. He then ran a very game fourth to Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate.

“After the Cox Plate, I thought should we go to the well again with Mugatoo?” Lees said. “But he’s the same weight and is thriving down in Melbourne. Everything suggests he is right to run.’’

Meanwhile, Lees revealed boom three-year-old The Bopper won’t contest The Hunter next week.

The Bopper scored his third win from just four starts when he took out the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes at Randwick two weeks ago but Lees said his young sprinter has gone for a short break before being aimed at the $1 million Inglis 3yo Sprint in February.

Sky Racing Update: November 5th 2020

Sky Racing Update: November 5th 2020.

Originally published asDanish twist: Tough mare proves a true Wanda

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