Lees to Train Kiwi Group 1 Winner Dal Cielo

Newcastle’s Kris Lees has taken over the training of New Zealand expat Dal Cielo who is on track for a big Spring Racing Carnival bid this season.

Kris Lees

Sydney horseman Kris Lees has taken over the training of New Zealand Group 1 winner Dal Cielo. Photo: Daniel Costello.

A rising four-year-old son of Per Incanto, the colt has been transferred by connections to Lees’ Broadmeadow base from the Cambridge stables of former trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman.

The move was led by part-owner Lib Petanga who also has triple Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina in the care of Lees and was made after another connection sold their share in Dal Cileo.

“Dal Cielo has been gelded and there’s been a change with the Homebush Partnership having sold their share, but Lib has remained involved,” Petanga’s bloodstock agent Bruce Perry told NZ Racing Desk.

A winner of two of his 12 starts to date, Dal Cielo is best known for his Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) victory as a youngster in March last year at Ellerslie.

He debuted down under in September of 2015 running a brave third under a quarter-length off the winner Bon Aurum in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Next-up he failed to make an impression in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) when nearly six lengths away 11th behind the Chris Waller-trained Press Statement.

Dal Cielo dropped back in distance later during the spring for a shot at Flemington’s Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

He finished a mid-field sixth behind another Waller star, Japonisme, but had a luckless run from a wide barrier 12 of 12 draw.

Dal Cielo raced once more that campaign and appreciated the step back in class in mid-November when crossing second behind Mahuta in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).

The Kiwi also raced three times over the autumn in Sydney, his best result producing a sixth to old foe Press Statement in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) first-up at Rosehill.

A dead last (13th) followed in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Dal Cielo was last seen running in the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) on March 24 when 10th to Lady Sniper.

Perry is hoping Lees can get the galloper back to his best form during the spring with connections pleased with how he has come through his winter spell.

“The horse has had a few issues and hopefully he can improve and find his old form. He’s had a nice break and we’re really happy with him,” Perry said.

Perry is also excited about the spring prospects of the fellow Petanga-owned Saracino who is in the care of Baker.

The two-year-old colt is also a son of Per Incanto and while is still a maiden after three starts, caught the eye with two brave Group 1 runs earlier in the year.

He finished second on debut in a Group 3 race in February before crossing two and a quarter lengths back fifth in the Diamond Stakes and then third to Luna Rossa at Awapuni in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce (1400m) last time out on April 2.

“On what he’s done so far he is a pretty exciting horse,” Perry said.

Saracino is likely to target the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne on October 8 this spring.

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.

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