Hugh Bowman will be reunited with Le Romain when the Royal Randwick specialist has his second start this preparation there on Saturday. Kris Lees has confirmed Bowman’s booking for the six-year-old, explaining the gelding’s first-up winning rider James McDonald had a commitment to Pierata in the $200,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
McDonald landed the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) on Le Romain at his resumption under 61kg at Randwick on August 18 at his first ride on him. He also rode classy Warwick Farm four-year-old Pierata for the first time when he beat another glamour horse of that age, Kementari, in the Group 2 wfa Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight earlier.
Bowman has ridden Le Romain eight times for three wins – one of them the Group 1 1600m Cantala Stakes at Flemington in 2016 – and two placings. He was also aboard when the gelding won his first race, a 1200m Maiden, at the Newcastle Cup carnival in September 2015.
Lees is delighted with Le Romain’s progress since the Show County and is keen to run him in the Tramway, in which he ran second to subsequent Epsom winner Hauraki in the 2016 edition.
Le Romain’s appearance will give the two remaining slot holders without a confirmed representative another chance to assess his prospects in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.
Clearly, the triple Group 1 winner’s Randwick credentials are outstanding. He has won five races (including the 2016 Randwick Guineas) and notched six placings there from 14 starts, has won $1.6m of his near $2.8m career earnings at headquarters and is equally effective on dry or wet tracks.
Lees also nominated last year’s Group 1 Doomben Cup winner Sense of Occasion for the Tramway, but has not yet committed him to a resumption there. Prized Icon and Miss Fabulass are definite Randwick starters on Saturday, and there is a good chance unbeaten three-year-old Gem Song will resume in the Benchmark 74 Handicap (1300m).
Prized Icon, gallant when a close first-up third to Flow and I Am Serious in the Spring Preview (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 11, lines up in the $250,000 Group 2 wfa Chelmsford Stakes (1600m). Miss Fabulass faces her biggest test at only her third start when she runs in the $200,000 Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) against her own sex at set weights.
“I had Jason Collett booked for Prized Icon in the Chelmsford, but he was suspended at Hawkesbury last Thursday and successfully applied to stewards to alter the dates so that he can stay on Graff in The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday week,” Lees explained. “As a result, he won’t be riding at Randwick on Saturday.
“Graff has pulled up really well from his dominant San Domenico Stakes win at Rosehill last Saturday. I’m looking forward to stepping Miss Fabulass up to Saturday company in the Furious. She has trained on strongly since her recent midweek Canterbury victory and Kerrin McEvoy will ride her again.”
Lees has entered both Gem Song and recent impressive Kembla Grange winner Reginae for the 3YO Benchmark 74. All Too Hard filly Reginae is also an entry for the 3 & 4YO Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) at Friday’s Wyong Cup meeting.
Lees has booked McEvoy for another of his unbeaten three-year-olds, Smart Melody, when she kicks off a new campaign at Wyong. The Smart Missile filly runs in the Springtime Benchmark 74 Handicap (1100m), taking on older horses.
He has nominated Zestful (58kg), Princess Posh (56kg), Upscale (56kg) and Milseain (55kg) for the $125,000 Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m), the main support to the $160,000 Gold Cup (2100m), in which he is without a runner: “I hope to have a few runners, and will probably accept with them and then have a look at the barrier draw,” Lees said.