The Sportsman Weekend

Metrop was the long term plan for Luncies

- SHAYNE O’CASS

KRIS Lees has had his sights set on Saturday’s Group 1 Metropolit­an Handicap as far back as the Hawkesbury standalone meeting on May 1.

It was there that the lightly-raced import Luncies put his hand up as a genuine contender for Sydney’s spring 2400m feature despite the lowly nature of his fifth career win.

“Sometimes with Europeans, I don’t like to go too far in their first prep,” Lees said.

“It can just have a little adverse effect on them in their preparatio­n for some of them, they are all different.

“I just thought it was the right time for him to have a little break, he was mentally not there yet.”

Luncies – the first emergency – will arrive at Randwick fourthup and off an Australian P.B fourth in the Newcastle Cup on

September 17.

“I think he has had a perfect build-up,” Lees said.

“He’s got 50 kilos with an inside draw and I think he is suited out to 2400m now.

“He just a little further back in the Newcastle Cup then we thought he may have. The pace came out of that race – they walked – so it was an encouragin­g run and has brought him right on too.

“I think he is giving every indication that is looking for (2400m).”

Lees last won the Metrop with his iron horse County Tyrone in 2004 who was having his 46th start in a race and had already contested two Melbourne Cups and of his eventual six Sydney Cups.

Luncies, meanwhile, is having only his 12th career outing this weekend.

“He is in the Melbourne Cup but realistica­lly I think he is more a Sydney Cup horse next time around.”

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