Kris Lees’ progressive Newcastle galloper Le Romain turned the tables on his last start conqueror and scored the Randwick Guineas 2016 upset in Sydney over the odds-on favourite Press Statement.
Last time out it was Chris Waller’s dual Group 1 winner over a mile, Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement flying home to win the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) by over two lengths.
Second past the post that day at Rosehill on February 20 was Lees’ super-consistent Hard Spun gelding Le Romain who improved off the run to win his maiden Group 1 in Saturday’s $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Having his first look at a mile, Le Romain dug deep in the closing stages of the prestigious 1600m classic and didn’t let Press Statement catch him and be first past the post this time around.
The favourite was first out of the barriers charging forward before Hugh Bowman let him ease back and Balmain Boy went up to set the pace in the Randwick Guineas.
Le Romain was ridden to perfection by jockey Christian Reith who put Bowman and the top fancy Press Statement in a pocket approaching the home turn.
Press Statement got strung-up midfield upon straightening while Le Romain got going very quickly.
It looked like the eventual Randwick Guineas winner might prove a bit suspect over a mile and that class would prevail for the punters as Press Statement bulldozed his way into the clear, having to fight for ground with Gold Ambition also chasing late.
Le Romain ($21) didn’t give up however and dug deep eventually getting the job done over Press Statement ($1.40), dictating to rival hoop Bowman the entire run and coming out on top in the finish.
The horse became the longest priced Randwick Guineas winner since 80/1 roughie Sharscay scored the upset for the late Guy Walter back in 1995.
Bjorn Baker’s Savabeel gelding Gold Ambition got in for a good third to finish off the Randwick Guineas trifecta, and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Thousand Guineas winning filly Stay With Me also lost few admirers with a good run just out of the money.
A big improver in a short time, Le Romain had too much fight in him on Randwick Guineas Day, but Lees needs convincing the horse would get further distance-wise ruling out a likely back-up in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) later in the carnival.
“It’s a really great thrill,” Lees said post-win.
“He’s kept handing every step we put in front of him and raising the bar every time.
“Our boke fought really hard and it was a good, solid win.
“I don’t think he’ll get much further, a mile will pull him up.
“But he’s a pretty smart horse.”
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2016 Randwick Guineas Results
Randwick Race 7 – 05/03/2016
|1||5||LE ROMAIN||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||–||8||56.5kg||$21|
|2||1||PRESS STATEMENT||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0.2L||12||56.5kg||$1.30F|
|3||9||GOLD AMBITION (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Tye Angland||1.5L||10||56.5kg||$81|
|4||13||STAY WITH ME||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Glyn Schofield||2.1L||5||54.5kg||$11|
|5||7||MONTAIGNE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Jason Collett||2.5L||3||56.5kg||$11|
|6||12||DATA POINT||Michael Kent||Craig Williams||4.6L||13||56.5kg||$31|
|7||10||BALMAIN BOY||Les Bridge||Tim Clark||4.7L||4||56.5kg||$101|
|8||4||SHARDS||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5.1L||2||56.5kg||$26|
|9||8||TULSA||Michael Moroney||Steven Arnold||5.7L||6||56.5kg||$26|
|10||2||ETYMOLOGY||John O’Shea||Tommy Berry||5.9L||9||56.5kg||$101|
|11||6||MAN OF CHOICE||Luke Price||Jeff Penza||8L||1||56.5kg||$81|
|12||11||MACKINTOSH (NZ)||James Bridge||Rory Hutchings (a)||8.3L||11||56.5kg||$61|
|13||3||DAL CIELO (NZ)||Murray Baker||Kerrin McEvoy||10.6L||7||56.5kg||$51|