Well-performed veteran All Summer Long will continue his comeback in the $20,000 AlFabs Cup (1400m) at Mudgee on Sunday.
All Summer Long was previously a standout galloper for Greg Bennett but, along with Group 1 runner Clearly Innocent, made the move to the stables of leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees last year.
All Summer Long carries 61kg for Andrew Gibbons at his second run from a spell and significantly had two barrier trials before a solid closing fourth over 1280m at Muswellbrook two weeks ago.
“Out to 1400m suits him at this stage of his prep, he’s fitter, but he’ll need some luck drawn wide and he’ll get back,” Lees told Racing NSW.
While All Summer Long eased significantly in betting when fourth of just eight starters at Muswellbrook, a below capacity field at Mudgee, extra distance and fitness are the keys.
And All Summer Long has proven heavy and soft track form (Mudgee is currently a soft 5) with Andrew Gibbons to be riding.
Dubbo trainer Garry Lunn will be out to record an almighty upset in the feature, with Umgeni set to jump from barrier one with apprentice Robbie Dolan in the saddle.
Umgeni is second-up from a spell, having finish fourth at Dubbo Turf Club last time out.
The six-year-old gelding has six wins and five placings from 31 career starts.
Lees will be one of the biggest names at Mudgee on Sunday and is well-represented.
He has three-year-old filly Stellara in the opening event, also to be ridden by in-form Gibbons.
“It was a suitable option going out from 1200m - she ready for the 'mile' she’s drawn well and is a race fit, consistent filly,” Lees said.
Promising three-year-old filly Prontissimo (Andrew Gibbons) contests the sixth event a BM 65 (1200m) after narrow but determined wins at Taree and Muswellbrook in February and March.
“She’s going okay off two trials but she’ll likely need more racing,” Less explained.
Prontissimo also has to contend with an extreme wide draw.
Lees and Gibbons combine again in the final event with rising filly La Biere Choisie.