Class, residual fitness and affinity with Royal Randwick all are in Le Romain’s corner for his resumption at the track on Saturday. The triple Group 1 winner begins a spring campaign in the $150,000 Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) with a new rider, James McDonald.
Importantly, with the rail out 7 metres, Le Romain has drawn the inside barrier and his trainer Kris Lees, understandably, is looking forward to taking him back to the races.
Already the earner of more than $2.7m, Le Romain has put together a splendid Randwick record. He has raced 13 times there for four wins (two of them Group 1s – 1600m Randwick Guineas and 1300m Canterbury Stakes) and six placings. And he’s no slouch when it comes to first-up runs either, having won twice and been placed three times from six attempts.
“Le Romain is normally better after one run back, but he is always competitive on resumption as his record shows,” Lees said.
“Obviously he has the class and he’s got residual fitness.
“He had only a couple of weeks off after his two Brisbane winter carnival placings and he looks set for another successful campaign.”
With McDonald aboard, Le Romain comfortably won a 1000m Gosford trial on August 6 in readiness for his return.
Lees says he does not have a specific race mapped out for Le Romain this spring.
“There are plenty of options; he might even have another crack at the Epsom ($1m Group 1 1600m Handicap at Randwick on September 29),” he said.
Lees also runs Zestful (Jason Collett) and New Zealand newcomer Milseain (Tommy Berry) at Saturday’s Randwick meeting. He has decided to race Zestful without winkers in the $150,000 Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1200m) against her own sex.
Zestful failed first-up in Havasay’s Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton in mid-July and was given an easy trial when fifth in Le Romain’s 1000m heat at Gosford on August 6.
“She is going well but would be better suited with the cut out of the ground,” Lees said. “Still, she also has a good Randwick record.”
Zestful has raced seven times at headquarters for two wins and three placings.
Lightly-raced Milseain debuts for the stable in the Benchmark 89 Handicap (1400m), and Lees has gone back to scratch with her, removing a cross-over nose band and pre-race ear muffs.
“An awkward barrier is going to mean she will get back, which will make it hard,” Lees said. “I’m happy with her progress, but she is going to need some luck.”
Lees also accepted with Dal Cielo in the Show County but has sent him to Queensland along with stablemate Reach For Heaven to run at the Gold Coast metropolitan meeting on Saturday. Dal Cielo (Aaron Bullock) contests the Open Handicap (1200m), and Reach For Heaven lines up in the One Metropolitan Win Handicap (1400m) against his own sex.
“Dal Cielo is racing well, and this looked a better option than the Show County,” Lees said. “I’m happy to leave Aaron on him because he knows the horse’s barrier antics and rides him well.
“Reach For Heaven has been fitted by two recent runs in Sydney and is definitely looking for the 1400m.
“The tracks are fast at present, and it has been hard for him to make up ground. He looks really well placed and should be hard to beat.”