Lee taking his time with Gift Is Gift
Punters never look a gift horse in the mouth and when the money started to flow for the Almond Lee-trained debutant Gift Is Gift, there was no hesitation from the public who piled into the eventual favourite and winner of the opening event.
Gift Is Gift scraped home by a nose over early favourite I Smell Money, a result that left beaten jockey Douglas Whyte shaking his head after the meeting.
'I honestly thought I had won by a head, I didn't even think it was that close,' Whyte said.
Gerald Mosse, however, was able to out-trump Whyte by a nose on the line and get the three-year-old off to a winning start to his career - one that the French rider believes will only blossom from here.
'Gerald told me after the race that Gift Is Gift still did plenty wrong in the race, so in a way that makes his future look even brighter since he was still able to win,' Lee (pictured) said. 'You could see in the run that he was still very green, but he had trialled quite well and was well prepared for this run, so he was still able to get the job done in the end.
Gift Is Gift shaded I Smell Money by the smallest possible margin, but the pair had 3/4 length to spare over the race-fit Supreme Knight and stopped the clock in 70.75 seconds in the 1,200m Siemens Handicap.
'I won't race him again until after the Chinese New Year, I think the best thing for him would be four to six weeks off,' Lee said. 'Gerald and I agree that he is a three-year-old who is still maturing and to race him too hard too early might kill his career.'
Gift Is Gift was pummelled down to $32 favouritism in the final minutes, displacing the eventual runner-up, and fellow debutant, I Smell Money as the popular elect on the tote boards.