NEWCASTLE trainer Kris Lees believes Le Romain has had the perfect preparation for the $3 million Doncaster Mile after his second to Winx in the George Ryder Stakes propelled him to clear favouritism on Saturday.
Winx, which is bypassing the Doncaster to target the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, cruised to a 16th consecutive victory, more than seven lengths clear of Le Romain in heavy 10 going over 1500 metres.
Le Romain, though, had the better of Doncaster rivals Chautauqua and Hauraki by more than a length and three lengths respectively in the $1 million race, prompting TAB Fixed Odds to wind him in from $8 to $6 for the 1600m April 1 Championships feature at Randwick.
Lees was pleased to see his three-time group 1 winner get through the trying conditions unscathed.
“We had every confidence and thought he was a great chance of running second, and he did,” Lees said.
“It was the perfect lead-up run in some ways, he came through it good, and that’s the main thing.
“He’s ready to go now, he’s fit, he’s ready for the mile, so he’s had a perfect preparation.”
As for being confident heading to the Doncaster, Lees said: “We’ve got the barrier draw still to go yet but I’m happy with where he’s at.”
Winx’s jockey, Hugh Bowman, will take back the ride on Le Romain from Glyn Schofield, who has steered the four-year-old gelding for his past two starts.
Lees had no luck with Felines (5th) in the Galaxy, Zestful (5th) in the Birthday Card Stakes and Raido (5th) , Twist Tops (10th) and The Wasp (15th) in the Gosford Provincial Championships qualifier, which was the last race.
“I few of them felt it, especially the ones in the later races. It was tough,” Lees said of the heavy track.
“It’s knocked them around a bit.”
He said it was doubtful any of the provincial championship trio would back up for the Newcastle edition on March 29 but he had a few others possibly runners for the race.