Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will dodge a showdown with glamour mare Winx at Randwick on Saturday and try for a hometown victory for Le Romain in the Group 3 $150,000 Australian Bloodstock Cameron Handicap (1350m) on the Beaumont track on Friday.
Le Romain is rated a $15 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday with Winx in her usual position at the top of the market order at $1.16.
While in the Cameron Handicap Le Romain is vying for favouritism at $3.20 with the John O’Shea trained Chetwood who heads the betting at $3.10.
“At this stage, Le Romain is running in the Cameron,” Lees said.
“He would be running only for second at Randwick (behind Winx).
“But it is definitely not going to be an easy task here.”
While the Cameron Handicap will be a much easier assignment than the Group 1 George Main Stakes, Lees said that it was still not an easy task for Le Romain to claim victory on his home track.
“He has gone up three Benchmark rating points (to 108) since resuming in the Show County Quality at Randwick last month, and the Cameron has often been a good race for the lesser-weighted horses.
“I’ve got great respect for Kim Waugh’s His Majesty and also John O’Shea’s Chetwood.
“Both are in good form and on the limit (54kg).”
Le Romain has been handicapped with the top weight of 59kg for the Cameron Handicap and is overdue for a Spring Carnival win after finishing second first up to Tycoon Tara in the Group 3 $125,000 Bob Ingham Show County Quality (1200m) at Randwick on August 20 followed by a second to Hauraki in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 3.
A win in the Cameron Handicap for Le Romain would put his Epsom Handicap campaign in jeopardy with Lees thinking he would be weighted out of Sydney’s Spring Carnival feature mile at Randwick on October 1.
“If he won the Cameron, there’s every likelihood he would get top weight for the Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1,” Lees said.
“We’d surely then have to give that serious thought about running him.”
The Chris Waller trained Vanburgh is also an acceptor for both the Cameron Handicap and the George Main Stakes and he said that he would head to Newcastle if the track was rated good.
Regular rider Christian Reith is back on Le Romain who has drawn barrier three in the ten horse Cameron Handicap field.
Le Romain hit the spotlight during the Sydney Autumn Carnival as a three year old when he caused an upset by beating the odds on favourite Press Statement in the Group 1 $1m Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick.
Market order for the Cameron Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.10 Chetwood, $3.20 Le Romain, $7 His Majesty, $8 Snoopy, $11 Sadler’s Lake, $13 Mount Nebo, $16 Vanbrugh, $20 Royal Tudor, $31 Famous Seamus, Decision Time.