Oct 09, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Tuesday, October 9, 2018: KRIS Lees has reverted to a proven formula with Le Romain for his $13m TAB Everest bid at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
He has opted to put winkers back on the six-year-old, whom Glyn Schofield will ride in the world’s richest turf race.
“Le Romain has always raced well in the past when I have put winkers on him,” Lees said this afternoon, explaining his decision.
“And coming back to 1200m, I’m sure they will help him.”
Le Romain, one of three representatives Lees has in the second running of The Everest, hasn’t raced since finishing a gallant second to Winx in the Group 1 wfa George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 15.
Sixteen of Le Romain’s 29 career starts have been at Randwick, and he has won five times there (including two Group 1s) and notched seven placings.
His 1200m Randwick record is impressive, boasting two wins and three placings from six starts, and his wet track prowess stamps him as a definite Everest prospect.
Le Romain’s versatility is such that he has won from 1000m to 1600m at Randwick.
Lees also has decided to use ear muffs pre-race on another of his Everest runners, classy three-year-old Graff (Brenton Avdulla).
“Simply to keep him quiet and relaxed,” he said.
Le Romain, Graff and his other Everest representative In Her Time (Corey Brown) all galloped separately wide out on the Newcastle course proper this morning.
“They are all pretty fit, and weren’t out to make time,” Lees said.
“I’m very happy with the condition of all three.”
Lees also has three runners – Clearly Innocent (Hugh Bowman), Tactical Advantage (Avdulla) and Dal Cielo (Schofield) – in The Everest “consolation”, the $500,000 Group 3 Sydney Stakes over the same course.
Osborne Bulls, who was to have contested the Sydney Stakes, has been drafted into The Everest as a late inclusion for stablemate Home Of The Brave, who was ruled out with an elevated temperature after working this morning.
Whilst Lees naturally will be at Randwick on Saturday, he will also be focusing in between commitments on the Caulfield meeting, where he has runners in two Group 1s – the $2m Caulfield Guineas and $500,000 Thousand Guineas, both over 1600m.
Gem Song (Craig Williams) is his Caulfield Guineas representative, and has drawn 11 in a field of 14.
Lees dominates pre-post betting on the Thousand Guineas with favourite Smart Melody (James McDonald) and second favourite El Dorado Dreaming (Damian Lane).
Unbeaten Smart Melody drew barrier two and her stablemate, already a Group 1 winner, barrier seven in the 16-horse field.
Lees’ three-year-olds worked wide out on the Caulfield course proper this morning. Smart Melody, who will also parade in ear muffs prior to her Thousand Guineas assignment, worked on her own and was timed to run 1000m in 1.07.6 (last 400m in a slick 23.57secs).
Gem Song and El Dorado Dreaming (outside) also were sent over 1000m together, clocking 1.07 and coming home the last 400m in 24.76secs.