Championship Final fancy set for Rosehill races lead-up

Promising gelding Tavi Time is likely to have one more run at Rosehill before attempting to deliver trainer Kris Lees a sixth win in the Provincial-Midway Championship Final.

The Newcastle trainer has dominated the feature since its inception in 2015, capturing the past three in succession, including producing the quinella last year when Spangler downed stablemate Loch Eagle.

Tavi Time is a $2.80 favourite in pre-nomination markets for this year’s Final, run on April 13, having already secured his place in the field with an emphatic four-length victory in the recent Qualifier at Newcastle.

It was the gelding’s sixth win from nine starts and while Lees was anticipating Tavi Time would prove too strong for his rivals, he didn’t bank on the performance being quite so comfortable.

“I expected him to win, you never say how far they win by,” Lees said.

“But he’s a pretty smart horse, probably a bit better than that level.

“He will probably go to the benchmark race and that would give him four weeks into the Final.”

That benchmark race is the Rosehill Bowling Club Handicap (1400m) on Saturday for which Tavi Time is a dominant $1.75 favourite.

It is set to be his final lead-up to the $1 million Provincial-Midway Championship Final (1400m) on day two of the Randwick carnival, with Lees also eyeing a longer-term tilt at the $500,000 The Coast (1600m) at Gosford four weeks later.

It is the same path Lees followed with Newcastle Stakes winner Rustic Steel two years ago when that horse claimed the Championships qualifying heat at Newcastle before finishing a close fourth to barn mate Kinloch in the Final two starts later.

Rustic Steel then plundered The Coast and the Scone Cup at his next two runs.

“After the Provincial Championships, we might look at a race like The Coast,” Lees said.

“It’s not a stakes race, but it’s a good money race.”

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