Trainer Kris Lees believes that imported galloper Slow Pace is on track for the 2014 Doomben Cup in Brisbane next Saturday after he impressed in a trackwork gallop this morning.
Slow Pace worked alongside a stablemate over 1200 metres on the course proper at Newcastle this morning and completed his trackwork in 1 metre and 24 seconds; running the last 600 metres in 38.1 seconds.
Lees said that the Distorted Humor gelding was likely to wear blinkers for the first time in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben Racecourse on May 17 and is happy with the condition of the six-year-old heading into the race.
“He wore blinkers for the first time in a gallop and he was a little keen early, but he relaxed in the middle stages,” Lees said.
“He was strong through the line and he appears to have taken no harm out of his recent racing.
“He looks to be on track for Saturday week in the Doomben Cup.”
Slow Pace was prepared by leading French trainer Freddy Head in Europe and performed well without winning at Group level; finishing fourth in the 2011 Prix Paul De Moussac (1600m), fourth in the Group 2 Prix Daphnis (1850m) and second in the Group 2 Prix Huillaume D’Ornano (2000m) and had three starts in the United States under the care of Todd Pletcher in 2012, before returning to France in 2013.
The talented gelding scored his maiden win at Group level when he took out the Group 3 La Couple (2000m) at Longchamp on June 10 and finished behind Tres Blue in his final two starts in Euope.
Slow Pace joined the Lees stable at the end of 2012 and made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing third in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) on March 19 before performing fairly in both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and the Group 2 Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m) at the same venue on April 26.
Slow Pace is currently available at 2014 Doomben Cup odds of $11; with Hollindale Stakes winner Streama ($3.25) a narrow favourite from Darren Weir-trained Akzar ($4.50), imported stayer Junoob ($5.50) unlikely starter Leebaz ($6.50), tough gelding Mr O’Ceirin ($6.50) and Werrett Bloodstock-owned Moriarty ($8.50).