Lee good as gold

New fa­cil­ity has top billing for Bal­lina trainer

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - TOM BOSWELL GOLD COAST

IT may be the new­est of his two train­ing bases but Stephen Lee’s Gold Coast sta­ble is no satel­lite.

Lee’s Gold Coast branch has only been in oper­a­tion for three weeks but it has al­ready out­grown his Bal­lina sta­ble, with 14 of his horses now north of the bor­der.

“There are more horses go­ing up to the Gold Coast this week, so Bal­lina is prob­a­bly the smaller sta­ble out of the two,” he said.

Lee has had wins at the Sun­shine Coast and Bal­lina since ex­pand­ing but the North­ern Rivers trainer ex­pects to chal­lenge for his first Gold Coast vic­tory when he takes a team of five to Aquis Park this af­ter­noon.

“We have had a few plac­ings since the move but we hope to break that this week,” Lee said.

Lead­ing the charge is four-year-old geld­ing Noth­ing­forthe­p­ress, who has recorded two sec­onds and a third from his past three starts on the Gold Coast.

“He will be hard to beat,” Lee said. “He has been un­lucky and has been right up there. Chavo will be in the same race and was a good fourth in his last start. They should both go well.”

Lee has 12 horses at Bal­lina and in­tends to con­tinue with two sta­bles, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the QTIS bonus scheme in Queens­land and tar­get­ing High­way races and the Coun­try Cham­pi­onships in NSW.

He said he would en­joy the best of both worlds while tak­ing his horses back down south to re­cover.

“The track and fa­cil­i­ties on the Gold Coast are bet­ter qual­ity,” Lee said.

“When our horses race up north they come back to Bal­lina and spend four or five days on our wa­ter-walker and we give them salt ther­apy for two or three days in the salt room.

“Then they can go back up to the Gold Coast and get ready for the next start.”

Lee floated the idea of open­ing the sec­ond sta­ble late last year but waited for the Magic Mil­lions sales to fin­ish be­fore mov­ing.

Lee joins a grow­ing list of train­ers to open sta­bles on the Gold Coast re­cently, in­clud­ing Chris Waller, Gary Moore and John Zielke.

Pic­ture: MIKE BATTERHAM

The Stephen Lee-trained Noth­ing­forthe­p­ress (right) chases Side­trip home at the Gold Coast.

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