Kris Lees’ Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain will kick off his Epsom Handicap 2016 bid next month in the Show County Quality at Randwick on Warwick Stakes Day.
The Newcastle-based Lees is confident the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), run at Randwick Racecourse on October 1, is the right race for his son of Hard Spun who won the Randwick Guineas over the same track and distance in March.
“The Epsom looks a logical target considering he won the Randwick Guineas over the same track and distance in the autumn,” Lees told Racing Victoria.
“His first couple of runs will show us whether he has made the necessary improvement required heading in to his four-year-old season but at this stage all the signs are good.”
A rising four-year-old, Le Romain has won three of his eight career starts to date and will be kept to a mile during his upcoming Sydney Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Lees stretched the youngster out over 2000m after his Randwick Guineas victory in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, but the horse only managed to finish a distant seven lengths away seventh behind the winner Tarzino.
First-up Le Romain is scheduled to run in the $125,000 Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) on August 20, a race won by plenty of nice types in recent years including Terravista (2014), Rebel Dane (2013) and Moment Of Change (2012).
Before his resuming run, Le Romain will face off against another Group 1 winning star from Lees’ stable taking on Queen Elizabeth Stakes champ Lucia Valentina in a Wyong trial next Monday.
The duo will both contest an 845m hit-out at the provincial track on the Central Coast before their resuming runs on Warwick Stakes Day.
“I won’t be doing too much with them, they will basically just be going around for an easy gallop,” Lees said.
“It is just a good opportunity for them to get a gallop on grass.”
Savabeel mare Lucia Valentina will run in the $250,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) in her first start since taking out the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at the track during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ in April.
Her main aim this coming campaign is Melbourne’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Lucia Valentina will come head-to-head with Chris Waller’s defending Cox Plate winner Winx in the weight-for-age classic and currently pays $15 occupying the third line of all-in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The two will face off earlier however with Winx also scheduled to return in the Warwick Stakes this season.
Winx is the dominant $2.80 favourite in pre-nomination Cox Plate betting followed by Hong Kong star Werther ($13) who started his career in New Zealand and then Australia where he ran second in both the SA Derby and Queensland Derby last year.
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