Last year’s runner-up Le Romain has work to do from the outside barrier 13 draw in Saturday’s Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) but trainer Kris Lees remains confident.
Newcastle horseman Lees believes his now five-year-old son of Hard Spun is back to his best and can give things a shake-up at Royal Randwick in the All Aged Stakes on the weekend.
The All Aged Stakes field attracted 13 weight-for-age hopefuls at final acceptance stage and the widest-drawn runner out to salute from a double-digit barrier for the first time in over 30 years is Le Romain.
Last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival the three-time Group 1 winner finished second to Tivaci in the All Aged Stakes results.
That was an improved effort on his lead-up 15th to It’s Somewhat in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Le Romain hasn’t won a race since last March when defeating the ‘Grey Flash’ Chautauqua in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on a Heavy (10) Randwick track.
This time in he has had two runs the latest seeing him run fourth to the upset two-length winner over beaten favourite Redzel, Trapeze Artist, in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
The TJ Smith Stakes has produced the past two All Aged Stakes winners including Le Romain (2017) improving on his lead-up fourth last year, the same form line Le Romain brings into the race on Saturday.
Lees is full of pre-race confidence after Le Romain’s second-up run, which showed a fitter horse than the returning seventh to In Her Time at Rosehill in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
“It was good to see him turn it around,” Lees told The Daily Telegraph.
“He was OK without being over-impressive in The Galaxy, which was way too short for him.
“I was really pleased with his TJ Smith run and this was the race we targeted with him.
“He’s got a terrific Randwick record and he’ll love the trip [in the All Aged Stakes].”
Lees is dually represented in the All Aged Stakes field this autumn with stablemate Clearly Innocent drawn barrier seven coming off a trio of sixth place finishes including on March 24 in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) behind Winx.
“He wasn’t that impressive in the George Ryder but that can happen when Winx is in the field,” Lees said.
“He’ll get a bigger field with a more solid tempo, which will suit him.
“He just needs a bit of cut in the ground.”
Gerald Ryan’s impressive TJ Smith Stakes winner Trapeze Artist is the headliner in All Aged Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.60 to do the double last completed by Bentley Biscuit (2007).
Jockey Tye Angland retains the ride on the gun son of Snitzel who gets the chance to become the fourth three-year-old since 2012 to beat the older horses in the All Aged Stakes.
The field features three other three-year-olds with Showtime ($11) the next shortest-priced after a second to Catchy in last Saturday’s Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m).
Along with Trapeze Artist and Le Romain ($7.50) the other single-figure chances in the All Aged Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au include the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash ($7) out to improve on his TJ Smith Stakes seventh and the Godolphin-raced Hartnell ($9).