Clearly Innocent still aimed at Everest

Hugh Bowman riding Clearly Innocent
Kris Lees is hoping Clearly Innocent can stake his claim for a slot in The $10 million Everest.

Trainer Kris Lees is still hopeful Clearly Innocent can claim a slot in the $10 million Everest when he returns in the Premiere Stakes.

But he may find it hard if all those nominated for Saturday’s Group Two 1200m-sprint line up at Randwick.

Confirmed Everest runners Chautauqua, Fell Swoop, English and Houtzen are among the 13 entries but the latter will run at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

Last week, Brave Smash and Deploy were added to the field for the world’s richest race on turf on October 14 at Randwick.

Clearly Innocent was one of five contenders on the shortlist for the Australian Turf Club’s slot which went to Brave Smash and is Lees’ only possible contender.

Le Romain was also on the ATC shortlist but the triple Group One winner finished second last in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 16.

“He’s all right now,” Lees said.

“He just had a lot of mucus in his airways. It appears to have cleared up.

“We’re not sure where he’ll run yet. We’ll decide after his next piece of work.”

Lees took over training Clearly Innocent from Greg Bennett and prepared him for a Group One victory in the Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) in Brisbane.

“I couldn’t be happier with him, ” Lees said.

“I think he’ll race well in the Premiere and there’s a couple of (Everest) slots left.

Clearly Innocent is the $6 third favourite in first markets for the Premiere Stakes behind Chautauqua ($3) and English ($4).

Another Newcastle horse, the Ben Smith-trained In Her Time, is at $8 and could also win her way to the Everest (1200m).

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