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Consistent sprinter Brudenell given G1 opportunity

Kris Lees began the week with two very different options for Brudenell and he has opted for the bolder of them, confirming the gelding will take his place in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.

Brudenell was also paid up for a benchmark 94 contest in Sydney but following careful deliberation, and a good Oakleigh Plate barrier draw in six, Lees could see no reason not to pursue the Group 1 opportunity.

"We thought we'd roll the dice and he will go to Melbourne for the Oakleigh Plate," Lees said. "It's a Group One but it's not the strongest Group One, so we will give him his chance.

"I'm really happy with him and he has done plenty of work in the reverse direction. It doesn't appear to give him any grief."

Trainer Kris Lees took the Group 1 option for Brudenell; picture sportpix.com.au

Brudenell boasts a handy strike-rate of eight wins from 15 starts, the latest of those a courageous 1000-metre victory at Randwick where he defied a wide run to get the verdict in a driving four-way finish.

While he has only been tested in stakes company once before, finishing sixth in the Listed Canterbury Sprint (1200m) in January, Lees has long felt the gelding wouldn't be out of place in a major handicap.

"I probably always thought he had some hope to get to a Group One handicap down in the weights," Lees said. "He has really gone on in leaps and bounds."

A $23 chance with bookmakers, Brudenell lumped 59kg last start and drops to 52kg on Saturday with Daniel Moor to ride.

Lees will be chasing his first win in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) but the race does hold some sentimentality with his late father Max capturing it in 1988 with grand sprinter Snippets.

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