Lees expects Nurse Kitchen to rebound

kris lees
Trainer Kris Lees is looking for improvement from Nurse Kitchen at Rosehill.

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has played down Nurse Kitchen’s luckless trip to the Queensland winter carnival, and is confident she can bounce back at Rosehill despite an awkward draw.

The four-year-old mare has barrier 10 but Lees and jockey Jason Collett are positive ahead of Saturday’s Kensei Handicap (2000m) at Rosehill.

Nurse Kitchen returns to Sydney racing after an unplaced effort in last month’s Group Three Lord Mayor’s Cup (1630m) at Doomben.

“Put a line through her run at Doomben. She just didn’t get around the track at all from a wide alley,” Lees said.

“She’s been looking for the 2000 metres and a bit of cut on the ground’s ideal for her.”

Rosehill was in the soft range on Thursday and could improve before race day, as no rain is forecast.

Nurse Kitchen also drops back in grade from the Group Three Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) and the Lord Mayor’s Cup.

“I don’t think there’s too many excuses for her. She’s quite capable,” Lees said.

Under Victorian trainer David Brideoake, Nurse Kitchen finished a close second to Montoya’s Secret in the 2017 Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill when owned by former trainer Peter Moody.

She was subsequently bought by the China Horse Club for $1.7 million at the National Broodmare sale and sent to Lees.

Nurse Kitchen had more than a year off after being unplaced in the Australian Oaks in April 2017 and her first start for Lees last month.

“She went through a sale and she just had a few little niggling issues that needed a bit more time and that put us out of the autumn,” Lees said.

Lees plans to target the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) on June 30 at Randwick or send Nurse Kitchen to the Sunshine Coast for the Listed Caloundra Cup on the same day.

Collett rode Nurse Kitchen in the Dark Jewel and was also forgiving of her last outing.

“The tight turning track didn’t suit but she seemed to rally again once she straightened and balanced,” he said.