Le Romain has bobbed his head at the right moment to beat champion sprinter Chautauqua on the line in the 2017 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Le Romain returned to the races for a classy win in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) in February and drew ideally into the small Canterbury Stakes field this afternoon in barrier 6.
Jumping well, the Hard Spun gelding was led forward by Glyn Schofield and took an ideal position in transit on the heels of early leader Ugo Fuscolo.
The field split in two rounding onto the final straight and Le Romain led a pack which included Impending and Hauraki on the outside rail, while Chautauqua blazed a path on the inside of the track with the remaining four horses.
Locking in a fierce sprint battle, the multiple Group 1 winners traded blows in the final 200m, but it was Le Romain who came out the victor following a photo.
Trainer Kris Lees was thrilled with Le Romain’s performance in the heavy going of the Canterbury Stakes and confirmed that a meeting with champion mare Winx as his next point of call, in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
“It was an exciting finish and to beat a champion on the line is very satisfying,” Lees said.
“He puts himself in the right spot, he’s tough and can run up to a mile. He’s given himself every chance and now he’s competed at weight-for-age.
“He was a little bit underrated before, but he’s never been that in our books.
“He’ll take on Winx in a couple of weeks, but the Doncaster has been his aim from the time he came in.”
Schofield delivered a gem of a ride aboard Le Romain in the Cantebury Stakes and was thrilled with the horse’s performance.
“He had a lovely spot in the run. I just had to squeeze him a little early just to clear Japonisme who was showing is normal early speed,” Schofield said.
“He was as keen to get to the outside as I was this horse, I think he must have walked the track himself!
“Once I got there, I thought he was doing it quite comfortable but gee Chautauqua; he got there so quickly and he probably put a neck on me.
“My fellow wasn’t going to lie down. He just really dug down deep and it was really close on the line. I’m glad it went my way.”
In winning the 2017 Canterbury Stakes, Le Romain has now posted three wins at the highest level, having also taken out each of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) in 2016.