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Luncies set for Ipswich Cup history

Wed 19 June 2024

By Glenn Davis

The Ipswich Cup has a reputation of producing winners with light weights, but trainer Kris Lees is hoping to buck the trend this year with imported stayer Luncies.

The last three Ipswich Cup winners, Regal Lion (2023), Smart Meteor (2022) and Happy Go Plucky (2021) have all carried light weights with 54kgs while 14 other winners since 2000 have carried the minimum.

Luncies has been handed the task to make history after receiving top weight of 60kgs in the 2150 metre Listed feature.

Since the race was first run in 1935, Sydney Cup winner Sharply holds the weight-carrying record at 58.5kgs when he was successful in 1961.

The David Vandyke-trained Maurus came close to the historic mark when he lumped 58kgs to victory in 2016 while Bergerac for Steve Tregea won with 57.5kgs in 2019.

Luncies, who drew perfectly in barrier four, has had only two starts this campaign and is coming off a close up fifth to Just Folk in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup over 1800 metres at Eagle Farm on June 1.

“It was a solid run in good company last time, so I thought we’d come back a peg or two for the Ipswich Cup,” Lees said.

“He’s in good order and Ryan Maloney is booked to ride him.”

Lees was in white hot form last winter winning three stakes' races with Amokura in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks, Kalapour in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap and Luncies in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup at Eagle Farm.

However, Lees hasn’t had the same fire-power this winter and is yet to win a Group race but did claim the Listed Hinkler Handicap at Eagle Farm with Willinga Beast last Saturday.

“We had a good year in Brisbane last year, but we haven’t had much luck this year,” Lees said.

“Kind Words didn’t have much luck in the Queensland Oaks when she ran a good fourth off a wide barrier.

“But, we won the (Listed) Hinkler last weekend so the winter has been okay without being special.”

Luncies is relatively lightly raced for a rising eight-year-old and has started only 37 times for 6 wins and 10 placings.

He is set to smash the $1 million prize money barrier if he finishes in the top five.

“He’ll run well as he’s been very consistent,” Lees said.

“He’s a genuine chance and is versatile enough to race handy or come from behind.

“He’s got a big weight, but he carries it well and I’m not worried about the race’s history. History is meant to be broken.”

Lees is set to continue Luncies winter campaign into the Listed Caloundra Cup over 2400 metres at the Sunshine Coast on July 6 and hasn’t ruled out a shot at the Grafton Cup later next month.