The Bopper enjoying new lease on life

A change of gear and a new racing pattern has popular sprinter The Bopper running with a new lease on life, trainer Kris Lees believes.

The five-year-old has found his home in Queensland and was only beaten by a Gold Coast track record last start, where Lees and connections elected to ride him off the speed, in order to best harness his energy.

Such is his form, bookmakers have installed The Bopper as $1.80 favourite, even with barrier 11 in Saturday’s Open Handicap (1000m) at the Sunshine Coast.

The Newcastle-based Lees admits he tossed and turned over whether to scratch him, but said the prospect of hitting the best part of the track in the straight was enticing enough to race on.

“I did think about it – there was a race for him next week in Sydney, but this still presents as a nice option,” he said.

“It is probably better than barrier one to be honest, just with his racing pattern and his style.

“We have changed some gear around with him and started riding him in a more conservative manner, he has reacted well.

Kris Lees believes The Bopper is best raced off the speed. Picture: Mark Evans-Getty Images.

“He has only had the two starts since we started doing that, he won at the Sunny Coast and was eye catching at the Gold Coast.

“He is not the cleanest winded horse, he has had a few issues, so we put a tongue tie on him.

“He has gate speed if you want to use it, but we’re trying to get his breathing patterns right and getting him to go with one run.”

The Bopper put in the best beaten run at the Gold Coast three weeks ago, storming home against a savage track bias to run second to a record-breaking Archer’s Paradox over 900m.

“He ran 31.70 in the last 600m and 10.6 in the last furlong, he is probably going as good as he can at the moment,” Lees said.

“Going back in 1000m races presents its own set of challenges but he is a winner at the track and getting out to the middle up there is a good place to be on Saturday.”

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