Sep 14, 2017
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, September 14, 2017: KRIS Lees is banking on Le Romain’s consistency and an important gear change helping him upset hotpot Hartnell at Flemington on Saturday.
Named Newcastle Horse Of The Year for 2016-17 last night, Le Romain (Ben Melham) returns to the scene of his Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) triumph last spring when he takes on Hartnell in the $750,000 Group 1 wfa Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Lees has opted to race his triple Group 1 winner in a tongue tie after the gelding has worn it in trackwork this week.
“Le Romain got his tongue over the bit when he trialled at Randwick last month before going to Melbourne,” Lees explained this morning.
“We were forgiving of that, but he has played around with his tongue a couple of times since in work.
“He has adapted well to the tongue tie this week in his gallops, and I’m sure it will help him.
“Realistically, Le Romain is going to need to be right at his top to beat Hartnell but I’m certainly not conceding the Makybe Diva to him.
“Le Romain is a very consistent horse, and always gives 100 per cent. We are never disappointed with him.
“He has trained on really well since the Memsie Stakes, and I’m sure he will run a great race on Saturday.”
Le Romain has earned connections $2.254m prizemoney from 20 starts, which have yielded six wins and 10 placings.
At his return Melbourne appearance, he finished fifth to Vega Magic in the $1m Group 1 Memsie (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2.
. Lees has two acceptors - Skylight Glow (Hugh Bowman) and Rosa Carolina (Glyn Schofield) - in Saturday’s Benchmark 84 Handicap (1200m) at the corresponding Royal Randwick meeting.
But he hasn’t yet made a decision whether Skylight Glow runs at Randwick or at Newcastle tomorrow in the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m).
Skylight Glow has drawn poorly in the Tibbie, which has drawn a capacity field of 16 plus three emergencies (one of which has been withdrawn).
“I’ll wait until the morning before deciding which race she runs in,” Lees said.
“Rosa Carolina is a definite starter and I’m expecting her to run well.”
Rosa Carolina, who races in the Lucia Valentina colors, resumed when third to Alaskan Wolf in the Springtime Stakes (1100m) at the Wyong Cup meeting on September 1.
Importantly, she has drawn well at barrier two on Saturday, with the rail out 9m between the 1600m and winning post and 7m out for the remainder.