Cristal Ride A Breeze For Bowman

By Brad Gray

Kris Lees gang tackled this year’s $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships (1400m) with six runners and it was Cristal Breeze that prevailed for the Newcastle-based trainer, defeating well-backed favourite Pandano.
Hugh Bowman on Cristal Breeze and James McDonald on Pandona paired off over the final 100m, with Liveinthefastlane pinching third.
“It’s rare when you set a plan from back in last winter, we put him away with this race in mind, brought him up really slowly and it was great that he could produce on the day,” Lees of the Australian Bloodstock sydnicated horse.
“When the barrier draw came out and we were a little concerned, but he got a lovely run and he looked the winner. But geez the favourite (Pandano), he’s a tough horse and he fought back but we were able to get there in the finish.”
Bowman slotted the five-year-old into a three-wide running line with cover from barrier 13, giving Lees his third Provincial Championships win after Danish Twist (2016) and Serene Miss (2018).
“(Hugh is) a great asset to be able to get on your horse when he’s available. It certainly helps in a big race,” said Lees.
“I think you’ve got to be a genuine Saturday horse at least to win these races. Some years they are probably stakes horses. I’d say this year they are genuine Saturday horses and he could measure up in better races.”
Bowman echoed Lees’ thoughts suggesting that the best is still yet to come for Cristal Breeze. Danish Twist won her next three starts before starting favourite in a Group One, after taking out this race five years ago.
 “Hopefully it’s an entree for what might come later on,” said Bowman.
 “This horse has been prepped for the race and he obviously qualified nice and early so Kris was able to prepare home to peak on the day and that is exactly what has happened.
“Our confidence was dented a little with the barrier but fortunately with a nice genuine pace I found myself with a nice run midfield, which is what we hoped for, and he was the strongest horse late.”