Le Romain produced the best performance of his racing career to date to upstage a star-studded field in the 2016 Cantala Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
Hugh Bowman gave Le Romain a lovely run in transit and the son of Hard Spun cantered up to his rivals at the top of the straight without being asked for an extra effort before he held off the swoopers in the last 100 metres,
Le Romain flew under the radar in the lead-up to the Cantala Stakes, but Bowman was confident that the four-year-old would go very close in the race formerly known as the Emirates Stakes and was thrilled to record a Group 1 win for good friend Kris Lees.
“He ran a hell of the race in the Epsom Handicap at Randwick when there was a tearaway leader,” Lees said.
“This horse took the field up to them and he felt it late.
“We were quietly confident and he drew to get the nice run and that is exactly what he got.
“He was dominant today and congratulations to Kris and his team at Newcastle.
“He is an excellent trainer and he is a very good friend – it is such a delight to win on the very big stage for him.
“He doesn’t bring them for a trip away and be brings them when he things they are right.
“He won the Randwick Guineas and he is a horse with an excellent record.”
Lees has been patient with Le Romain this preparation and he was delighted to see his patience pay off in the Cantala Stakes.
Lees believes that Le Romain has been an underrated horse right throughout his racing career and he was delighted to see one of his star gallopers stamp himself as a genuine Group 1 galloper.
“He has been underrated in some circles, but not by the stable,” Lees said.
“We have always had a really good opinion of him and he was really brave in the Epsom.
“The four weeks really suited him then and he has had a couple of nice gallops at Sandown.
“We went into the race really confident that he would run well and he got the right breaks and was able to get there at the right time.
“I could see that Hughie had plenty of horse underneath him and he really dragged him into the race.
“He said before the race that he wanted to be coming to them and not them coming to him, which is what happened in the Epsom.
“I knew that he had a little bit in the tank and I was really happy with him late.”
McCreery flashed home late to finish in second, while Tivaci returned to his best form to finish third.