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Lees Gives Newcastle's New Course Proper The Thumbs Up

Kris Lees won the first three barrier trials staged on the new course proper at Broadmeadow this morning and was lavish in his praise of the track.

Despite overnight rain a “Good 4” rating was posted for the first four heats conducted on the new surface before the remainder of the 14-trial session was held on the Beaumont (inside) track.

“The course proper was outstanding,” Lees said this afternoon.

“The trials on the Beamount track were run on a heavy surface; that’s how much difference there was between the two.”

Lees won the opening 1200m trial with French import Singing (Andrew Gibbons), and then 900m Open heats with Zestful (Aaron Bullock) and Le Romain (Mathew Scorse).

He actually won eight of the 14 trials, also scoring on the Beaumont track with Clevedon Bay and The Wasp (800m Opens) and Magic Success, Bastia and Serene Miss (800m Maidens).

Le Romain’s trial victory over Conchita in 52.94secs has topped off the dual Group 1 winner for a return to racing at Royal Randwick on 11 February.

He will run in the $150,000 Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) rather than take on champion mare Winx in the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m).The latter is run under weight-for-age conditions whereas the former is run under quality conditions with a maximum topweight of 62kg.

“It’s the right race to kick off his autumn campaign,” Lees said.

“I was thrilled with the way he trialled. He is in great order.”

Le Romain, who hasn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at the beginning of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington is being aimed at the $3m Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 1.

Zestful will start next on the same day as Le Romain in the $150,000 Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m).

Stablemate Danish Twist, who ran third in Zestful’s trial, is ready to go the races again and will line up in the $200,000 Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday week.

Zestful clocked 53.10s in winning her trial whilst Singing was timed at 1.13.85 in landing the 1200m trial to begin the session.

“I’m really happy with the way Singing is progressing,” Lees said. “He is about three weeks away from resuming.”

Singing, a seven-year-old stallion, was rested after injuring himself when seventh to Sacred Master in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2200m) on the Beaumont track on 16 September.

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