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Trainer Kris Lees and connections have opted to use the Doomben Cup over 2000m as a springboard to launch Mugatoo’s Cox Plate campaign leveraging the Winter Carnivals ideal place in the calendar to keep his runner fresh.

Mugatoo set to run in Doomben Cup on Saturday

With a toss up between challenging for $700,000 in prize money or heading for a spell in the paddock it was an easy decision to compete and head for a rematch with 2020 Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet and fresh import Zaaki who’s coming off an impressive Hollindale Stakes win.

“The Cox Plate is a long way away, we were thinking if we sit around waiting until then it is a long time,” he said. “We may as well give him this run now and it gives us a nice five-week gap (since the Queen Elizabeth).

“In saying that, it is a good race, it is a Group 1 over 2000m so it suits him. He is an older horse where we have spaced our runs with him so he can bounce off this and have a couple of lead ins to a Cox Plate.”

Mugatoo has proved to be a versatile competitor having won the All Star MIle over 1600m and having also competed over 2300m when he was trained in the UK.

“He won an All Star Mile and he also won over 2300m so this looks the right distance for him but it all comes down to the opposition he is up against, the pace in the race and all those variables,” Lees said. “I am comfortable with him over the 2000m.”

Lees, who also has a training base on the Gold Coast will be looking at a few chances on Saturday having recently had success at Rosehill with expensive gelding Midland who won the $300,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas.

“I will have Special Reward in the BRC Sprint and Itz Lily in the Fillies and Mares race and a few others up there from the Gold Coast base,” he said.

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