Aug 04, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Friday, August 4, 2017: KRIS Lees is confident Le Romain has come back “as good as ever” on the eve of the triple Group 1 winner’s resumption at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Le Romain (Glyn Schofield) and Invincible Gem (Corey Brown) both begin new campaigns, giving their trainer a particularly strong hand in the $200,000 Group 2 wfa Missile Stakes (1200m).
“Le Romain has trialled really well, and worked well,” Lees said this morning.
“He has returned a bit stronger and I’m sure he is poised for another good campaign.
“With plenty of pace up front, the Missile looks to set up nicely for him and, being one of only two Group 1 winners (the other is Tatts Tiara winner Tycoon Tara), he has a class edge.”
Lees, understandably, is keen to secure a spot for Le Romain in the inaugural $10m The Everest over the Missile course on October 14, and a first-up victory tomorrow would certainly enhance his chances.
Rain in Sydney the last two evenings – Randwick received just over 20mm – resulted in a “Heavy 8” rating this morning.
But with no more rain forecast plus strong winds today, an upgrade to a “Soft 6 or 7” appears certain.
Both Le Romain and Invincible Gem handle wet ground, although Lees raised some concern that the conditions could be somewhat testing as his pair do not yet have race condition on their side.
He is also pleased with the progress of Invincible Gem, who made giant strides earlier in the year and almost stole the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in early March at her last run.
Like Le Romain, she has caught the eye in two impressive trials in the lead-up to the Missile.
“She is a bit more forward than Le Romain, but I’m not sure that at this stage of her career she can beat him at weight-for-age.”
Le Romain edged out Everest fancy Chautauqua in the wfa Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick in March and then was runner-up to Winx (1500m George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill) and Tivaci (1400m All Aged Stakes at Randwick) in two more wfa assignments before spelling.
Lees is also looking forward to taking talented young sprinter Launch Code back to town. Le Romain’s rider Schofield is aboard the four-year-old in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (1000m).
“Launch Code has trialled okay on soft ground, and has come on really well since winning easily at Wyong (on July 25),” Lees said.
“Obviously this race is a lot stronger, but I’m sure he will run well.”
Lees has Olympic Academy (apprentice Rachel King) and Admiral Jello (Brown) in the Benchmark 90 Handicap (1600m), but isn’t certain about running the former.
“Olympic Academy prefers firmer ground,” he said. “I’ll talk with the owners and see how the track progresses before making a final decision.
“Admiral Jello will run. If he can reproduce his recent first-up performance at Randwick when fourth (unlucky not to have been placed), he will be very competitive.
“Either way, he is set for a successful campaign.”
Lees is trying Wahng Wah (Rachel King) at 1800m in the Benchmark 76 Handicap against her own sex.
“She is racing well, but can’t put herself into a position to play a part in the finish. She deserves a chance over the extra distance.”
Lees has sent Star Reflection to Queensland to represent the stable at Doomben tomorrow.
With Damian Browne aboard, she contests the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1350m) and has drawn five in a field of nine.
“Star Reflection is very genuine, and this looks a really suitable race for her,” Lees said.
Star Reflection carries the Australian Bloodstock colours and has been placed at her last four starts, all in metropolitan company (three in Sydney along with the stand-alone Scone carnival in May).