Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Trainer Kris Lees has underlined the 2017 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in September as the first major Group 1 target for stable star Le Romain during the forthcoming Spring Racing Carnival.
A three-time Group 1 winner, Le Romain returned to racing in typically excellent form through the recent Autumn Carnival; winning the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1300m) first-up before beating Chautauqua on the line in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 4th.
Second to Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), the Hard Spun gelding failed to fire in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), but was last seen savaging the line for second behind Tivaci in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 15th.
Le Romain cruised in a Newcastle barrier trial on Tuesday morning and Lees believes that the horse is well and truly on track to contest the 2017 Memsie Stakes as a second point of call, following a likely first-up run in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) in Sydney.
“He’s come back in good order,” Lees told Racing Victoria.
“He’s pretty professional and did everything right and while he’s still off fitness-wise, he’ll be ready to go in a couple of weeks.
“We’ll probably head to the Memsie second-up so if we start off first-up in the Missile in Sydney, we’ll have four weeks to prepare for the race in Melbourne.”
The Memsie Stakes will boast an impressive $1 million prize pool this year and Lees said that was only a bonus on top of what would have been the horse’s first major target regardless.
“To be honest, I thought it was the race to target before the extra prizemoney but that certainly confirmed things,” he said.
Le Romain has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career so far and announced himself to the Australian racing fraternity via an outstanding three-year-old campaign in the 2016 autumn, highlighted by a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Running second in each of his first three starts in spring, Le Romain ran a credible fifth in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) after missing the start and ended his year with a dominant win in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m).
Le Romain is currently available at early Memsie Stakes odds of $9, while reigning champion Black Heart Bart is an early $5 favourite.
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