Newcastle trainer Kris Lees rued a wide draw for Graff but showed little concern about similar spots for Le Romain and In Her Time at the Everest barrier draw reveal on Tuesday night at Sydney Opera House.
Graff drew 10, In Her Time was given eight and Le Romain 11 for the 12-horse $13 million (1200 metres) at Randwick on Saturday.
Lees has the most runners in the world’s richest race on turf and said the prospect of a wet track made it difficult to judge the value of draws. Randwick was a Heavy 8 on Tuesday and more rain is tipped to keep it in at least the soft range.
“It’s OK,” Lees said of the draws. “I don’t get too carried away with barrier draws four days out with more rain predicted. My horses haven’t drawn great at the moment but come late Saturday afternoon, who knows?”
Lees was “not too concerned” with the draw for Le Romain, which is a proven wet-track performer. The three-time group 1 winner was a late replacement for the injured Invincible Star and was the race’s longest shot with TAB at $21 after being $17 pre-draw.
“They should be able to roll across and he’s a type of horse who doesn’t really like being cluttered up,” Lees said. “He’s a free-running type of horse who likes to build his momentum, so I’d probably prefer him a little wider than being cluttered up on the fence.”
In Her Time, an on-pace runner, drifted in betting from $9 to $11 after the draw but remained Lees’ shortest-priced chance.
Lees was confident In Her Time was in peak condition after her first-up and narrow third in the Premiere Stakes.
“If she runs up to her best, which I think she will, I think she’ll be most competitive,” he said.
Graff, the first three-year-old colt in the race, drifted from $15 to $17.
“He’s probably one I would have loved to have seen draw in a bit closer, just to have the rail being an inexperienced type of horse,” Lees said. “But without analysing the race yet, I think it could break up a little bit and there might be spot there for him, but he’ll run very well with the 53 [kgs].”
Hunter-based syndicators Australian Bloodstock have 2017 placegetter Brave Smash in the race again and the Darren Weir-trained entire drew four.
Godolphin's Home Of The Brave was ruled out of the race with a temperature on Tuesday and was replaced by stablemate Osborne Bulls.
The draw: 1. Redzel (1), 2. Santa Ana Lane (9), 3. Le Romain (11), 4. Trapeze Artist (6), 5. Vega Magic (7), 6. Brave Smash (4), 7. Osborne Bulls (5), 8. US Navy Flag (3), 9. In Her Time (8), 10. Shoals (2), 11. Viddora (12), 12. Graff (10).
Lees believed defending champion Redzel was the biggest threat to his trio after he drew one.