Pre-race favourite Le Romain has drawn the perfect barrier for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday according to his trainer Kris Lees.
Le Romain draw barrier eight in the original draw of twenty plus three emergencies but could come into one spot if third emergency Top Of My List, who drew barrier four, fails to gain a start.
Lees said the good gate will give leading Group 1 winning jockey Hugh Bowman plenty of options to work out which way the track will be playing late in the day.
“Perfect. It gives Hugh Bowman options depending how the track is racing by that race (nine),” Lees told AAP.
“There’ll be some perceived pattern. He’ll be able to work that out.”
Le Romain is already a winner of the famous Randwick Mile with his victory in the Group 1 $1m Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival and he also showed his liking for the 1600m with his win in the Group 1 $1m Cantala Stakes at Flemington over the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Following his win in the Cantala Stakes Le Romain was sent to the paddock before being prepared for his main mission for ‘The Championships’, the Doncaster Mile.
“After he won the Canatala Stakes we set out a preparation for a Doncaster and this was the plan we have had all along. Nothing has gone amiss, touch wood, and he gets here in good order,” Lees said..
“It’s a very competitive race but I think he is certainly one of the main hopes.”
Le Romain’s Autumn Carnival form has been almost faultless and he resumed for a first up win in the Group 3 $150,000 The Chi-X Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 13 followed by a nose win over Chautauqua in the Group 1 $500,000 BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4.
The four year old’s only Autumn Carnival tumble was when he ran into Chris Waller’s super mare Winx in the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18 when he led the rest of the field home behind the glamour mare who put seven and a quarter lengths between herself and Le Romain.
With the Doncaster Mile weights raised 1kg, Le Romain will now have to carry 56.5kg, 0.5 kg below the top weight Hauraki and with the prospect of another rain affected track, Lees thinks this could have some bearing on the result.
“He handles heavy tracks no problem but I suppose now the weights have gone up a kilo it might have some relevance to the top weights but he handles it, puts himself in the right spot and doesn’t need to rely on tempo,” Lees said.
“He can take up the running if need be or take a sit so he is quite adaptable.”
On Wednesday morning the Randwick track was rated a Soft 6 but it could be downgraded with more rain forecast for the Sydney Area in the lead up to the weekend.
Le Romain is currently the $6 favourite for the Doncaster Mile with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Hauraki and the Chris Waller trained McCreery who share the second line of betting at $8.50.
Lees will also saddle up $61 chance Sense Of Occasion who gained automatic entry into the Doncaster Mile with his win in the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 17.
Sense Of Occasion has had one run since his Villiers Stakes win for a second to Red Excitement in the Listed $150,000 Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) at Gosford on January 13 and has drawn barrier ten with Corey Brown to ride in his first up assignment in the Doncaster Mile.