While confirming stable star Lucia Valentina has returned to the paddock, trainer Kris Lees has revealed he is still set to have a presence during the Brisbane Winter Carnival with star three-year-old Le Romain to target the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Initially underlining the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) as the likely target for Lucia Valentina this time, the classy daughter of Savabeel caused a huge boil-over when mustering a huge turn of foot to win the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick over the weekend.
Lees was understandably thrilled with Lucia Valentina’s career-best performance in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and told The Courier Mail she has returned to the paddock with a view towards a run in the Cox Plate (2040m) in spring.
“Had she not won, she would have been running in the Doomben Cup and then most likely go to stud after that, but we will have another shot at the spring now,” Lees said.
Lees said Le Romain has taken plenty of benefit from his time away from racing and has returned to light duties with a view towards the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap.
“It’s highly likely,” Lees said of Le Romain targeting the Brisbane feature.
“He’s had a break and he’s back on the water walker now.
“The plan would be to run in the 1200m three-year-old race a fortnight before (Listed Queensland Day Stakes) and go into the Stradbroke second-up.”
Le Romain has been a strong and consistent performer for Lees through his short but impressive racing career so far; posting three wins and a further four minors through only eight competitive appearances.
Failing to finish outside the first three through his debut campaign during the 2015 Spring Carnival, Le Romain returned this time with a barnstorming performance for success in the Schweppes Quality (1000m) on January 23rd.
Making a competitive transition to black type racing when second in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) on February 6th, the Hard Spun gelding ran second to Press Statement in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) before squaring the ledger in the Randwick Guineas.
Running seventh in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) last time out on March 19th, Le Romain is currently available at generous early 2016 Stradbroke Handicap odds of $21 with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.