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  4. Lees pulls master stroke to win with Dal Cielo at the Gold Coast.

Lees pulls master stroke to win with Dal Cielo at the Gold Coast.

By Glenn Davis

Newcastle sprinter Dal Cielo overcame a distance doubt and gave former Melbourne rider Ryan Maloney a lucky pick-up ride when successful at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Dal Cielo was to be ridden by regular jockey Aaron Bullock but was replaced in the Open Handicap (1200m) by Maloney after the Newcastle rider was indisposed.

Dal Cielo led all the way to down the fast finishing Sold For Song by one length with a similar margin to third placegetter, Mishani El Elobo.

Trainer Kris Lees, who makes regular interstate raids to Queensland, pulled a master stroke by running Dal Cielo at the Gold Coast in preference to the Group 3 Show County Quality at Randwick.

“As it turned out it was a good decision to go north as he wouldn’t have beaten his stablemate (Le Romain) who won the Show County,” Lees said.

Dal Cielo has now won five of his 25 starts but it was only his second win in seven starts over 1200 metres.

Lees said he would likely keep Dal Cielo in Queensland for a similar sprint race at the Sunshine Coast in two weeks.

Earlier Inverell trainer Shane Edmonds continued his successful association with owner Mike Crooks and set his sights on The Kosciuszko at Randwick in October when Mishani Sleuth won the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1200m).

Mishani Sleuth, ridden by apprentice Clayton Gallagher, sat in behind the early speed set up by Sista Act before going on to down the well backed Divine Messenger by 3-1/2 lengths.

Sista Act held on for third, a further three-quarters of a length away.

Edmonds has been training for Crooks, who races his horses under the name of Mishani Enterprises, for less than two years.

Mishani Honcho has been Edmonds’ best performer for Crooks, winning three of his nine starts since transferring from Eagle Farm trainer Les Ross but his career is at the crossroads.

“Mishani Honcho hurt his leg two weeks after he won at Caloundra in April when we were getting him ready for the Tamworth Cup,” Edmonds said.

“It’s not certain but it looks like he may have to be retired.”

Edmonds, who also trains the former Ben Currie-trained Girl In A Million, is tempted to aim Mishani Sleuth for the world’s richest country race, the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.

Mishani Sleuth was formerly trained by Chris Anderson at Eagle Farm and was having only his third start for Edmonds.

“Mike sent him down to me as he thought the horse wanted a country environment,” Edmonds said.

“I’ve only had him for four months and he’s turned the corner since he was unlucky in his last run at Coffs Harbour.

“I’m just a small country trainer but The Kosciuszko might be a nice race for him in two months if all goes well.”

Racing Queensland webnews   August 18