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Lost And Running upsets Lees’ plans in $1m The Hunter

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The prestigious $1 million The Hunter has evaded hometown hope Kris Lees once again, after favourite Lost And Running claimed the spoils on Saturday.

After finishing runner-up with Tactical Advantage in 2019 and Special Reward in 2020, the local trainer was keen to break the drought at the Newcastle Racecourse.

But, he had to settle for second for the third consecutive year when Wandabaa, with jockey Andrew Adkins on board, flew home only to be pipped by one-and-a-quarter length.

Annabel Leasham’s Top Ranked, ridden by James McDonald, slipped into third.

All the honours, however, went to champion hoop Hugh Bowman who positioned Lost And Running perfectly at the start of the 1300m feature event for legendary mentor John O’Shea.

Even the wide barrier did not dim the confidence of the victorious duo.

“You’d have to say, his first up run didn’t go to plan then it was a patch up towards The Everest but he hasn’t disappointed once,” Bowman said.

“He has continued to raise the bar and we were ultra-confident here today.

“The draw didn’t worry me too much especially with that big head wind.

“He is a horse that likes room and you would have seen once I turned for home, he looked under pressure but once he balanced up and changed legs he extended away and won with the authority that we expected him too.

“He is a very exciting horse for next year.

“He was the only horse out of The Everest and that form has stood up in Melbourne and Sydney since that race so it is the benchmark.

“We obviously had a healthy respect for the English horse (Top Ranked) but to come over here and take on a seasoned campaigner like Lost And Running was a big ask but he has obviously run well, too.

“The Hunter has certainly stamped itself as a race for future stars.”

Lost And Running, a five-year-old bay gelding by Per Incanto (USA) from Dreamlife (NZ), hit the front at the top of the straight at Broadmeadow – and stayed there, despite the late surges from Wandabaa and Top Ranked.

As for Lees’ other three gallopers, Gem Song (Nash Rawiller), Special Reward (Glyn Schofield) and Countofmontecristo (Ron Stewart) finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

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Hugh Bowman wins the $1 million The Hunter on Lost And Running at the Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

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