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McDonald Can Get Aggressive On Le Romain

Trainer Kris Lees says likely 'sit and sprint' tactics in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday may force rider James McDonald to play an aggressive hand on Le Romain.

McDonald Can Get Aggressive On Le Romain

Trainer Kris Lees says likely 'sit and sprint' tactics in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday may force rider James McDonald to play an aggressive hand on Le Romain.

The triple G1 winner resumes in the $200,000 Expressway (1200m). The Group 2 feature has attracted only six runners, raising questions about the race pace.

“Being only a small field, it shapes as a sit and sprint race,” Lees said.


“That doesn’t suit Le Romain, who likes to wind in to his races.

James McDonald
James McDonald Picture:Racing and Sports

“If there isn’t any speed on I wouldn’t be concerned if James either took up the running or sat outside the leader.

“He crossed from an outside draw and sat outside the leader Redzel Horseform in The Everest at Randwick last October and finished a gutsy fourth.”

McDonald has ridden Le Romain Horseform three times for a win and two seconds, one of them to wonder mare Winx.

The latest was when Le Romain was narrowly beaten by Best Of Days Horseform in the G1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 3 last spring. Le Romain won the same in 2016 with Hugh Bowman up.

Lees has given Le Romain two trials, the latest when just caught by Vega Rhythm Horseform over 1000m on the Beaumont track on January 22, and is pleased with his progress.

“He won the Show County Quality first-up at Randwick last August with 61kg (with McDonald aboard), but being a bit older now will no doubt take improvement from this race,” Lees said.

“Le Romain never lets us down and I’m sure he won’t do that on Saturday.”

The six-year-old has a splendid first-up record of three wins and as many placings from seven starts.

Lees is keen to get him into the field for the $5 million All Star Mile at Flemington on March 16.

After the Expressway Le Romain will head to Melbourne and contest the $500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 23 before hopefully gaining a start in the inaugural All Star Mile.

Ten of the 14 runners will be decided by public vote, with the Victoria Racing Club choosing the remaining four wildcards.

Despite his outstanding record Le Romain has attracted only 756 votes for the All Star Mile and is currently 23rd on the voting order, adding to the concern that many top notch G1 performers will not make the final field as fan selections.

Other stars well down the All Star Mile order and more than 1000 votes outside the top 10 include Happy Clapper Horseform, Hartnell Horseform, Brave Smash Horseform, Shoals Horseform, Tom Melbourne Horseform, D’Argento, Shillelagh Horseform, Best Of Days Horseform and Oohood Horseform.

Le Romain
Le Romain Picture:Racing and Sports

Lees has withdrawn dual acceptor Kool Vinnie from the Eagle Farm meeting to run at Rosehill on Saturday.

Apprentice Robbie Dolan’s 2kg claim lowers the gelding’s weight to 59kg in the TAB Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m).

Kool Vinnie Horseform, after pulling up with heart arrhythmia at Randwick on December 15, bounced back with an excellent third in a similar race over 1200m at Rosehill on January 19.

“He has done well since that race, and is nicely drawn,” Lees said. “He looks to have an excellent chance.”

Lees also has Admiral Jello Horseform (Sam Clipperton) and Hallelujah Boy Horseform (Jason Collett) resuming at Rosehill.

Clipperton, back from a successful Hong Kong stint, also rides former New Zealand mare Milseain Horseform, in the Rise Up This Autumn BM 88 Handicap (1200m).

Lees has only one representative at tonight’s Canterbury meeting and has decided to put blinkers on much-travelled Zip A Dee Doo Dah Horseform.

He also accepted with topweight Our Gravano Horseform in the ATC BM 70 Handicap (1900m) but he has been withdrawn.

Racing And Sports



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