Lee good as gold
New facility has top billing for Ballina trainer
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.
The Stephen Lee-trained Nothingforthepress (right) chases Sidetrip home at the Gold Coast.