Glyn Schofield will be reunited with Le Romain when he begins a new campaign in the Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick early next month.
The triple Group 1 winner’s trainer Kris Lees confirmed Schofield’s booking for the $200,000 Group 2 wfa Missile (1200m) on August 5.
Le Romain’s regular rider Hugh Bowman is unavailable as he is joining fellow jockeys Corey Brown, Kathy O’Hara and Stephen Baster and model Kris Smith walking the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea to raise funds for two charities, the National Jockeys’ Trust and Mark Hughes Foundation (which was set up to promote brain cancer research, support patients and their families and heighten awareness of the insidious disease).
Schofield is no stranger to the rising five-year-old, having ridden him three times for two wins – one of them a Group 1 – and a second to mighty mare Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 18. He rode Le Romain for the first time 18 months ago when he won a 3YO Quality (1000m) on him at Randwick on a heavy track on January 23 last year.
Schofield also partnered the gelding to an exciting victory over Chautauqua in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4. When Le Romain chased home Winx (ridden by Bowman) in the George Ryder, he also finished ahead of ruling $10m The Everest favorite Chautauqua (third).
Understandably, Lees is keen to secure a spot in the inaugural running of The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14 with Le Romain, who showed he is ready for another successful campaign with a dominant barrier trial performance on the Beaumont track (rated a Heavy 8) on Tuesday. With Mathew Scorse aboard, he scored easily over 1000m, clocking 59.59 secs and breaking 34s (33.75) for the last 600m.
“Le Romain is definitely a bit stronger,” Lees said. “He has grown into his body, and I’m looking forward to getting him back to the races.”
Stablemate Invincible Gem, another 1000m trial winner on Tuesday in 59.65s for Aaron Bullock, will join Le Romain in the Missile: “She is going terrific, and is a bit more forward than Le Romain,” Lees said.
Rising four-year-old Invincible Gem was a dynamic improver last preparation, easily winning the Group 3 NJC Spring Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and then just being caught by Inference over the same course in the Randwick Guineas; the same race which resulted in Le Romain’s Group 1 breakthrough last year.
Lees also was delighted with the performances of two recent acquisitions, Japanese import Hallelujah Boy and 2015 Country Championships winner Artlee, at yesterday’s 14-heat trial session.
Hallelujah Boy (Andrew Gibbons), purchased by Australian Bloodstock earlier this year and syndicated among clients, ran third in an 800m trial in 47.51s. Artlee (Bullock) looked good in easily winning his 800m heat in 46.84s (last 600m in 33.03).
“Both horses will trial again at Gosford on August 2,” Lees said.