Newcastle trainer Kris Lees hopes to send Zestful out on a winning note and improve Le Romain’s outside shot for an Everest spot at Randwick on Saturday.
Le Romain will resume off two strong trials and four months away from racing in the group 3 Show County Quality (1200 metres) and was an even-money favourite with the TAB on Friday.
The three-time group 1 winner has success over 1300m at the top level at Randwick but appears only a remote chance for a slot in the $13 million 1200m Everest at the track on October 13. Three slot-holders are yet to confirm their starter.
Lees said there had been only minor talks about the Everest for Le Romain and “we’ll see what happens Saturday first”.
“I think there’s only really one spot left, so it’s a very outside chance,” Lees said.
He was expecting a strong first-up effort from six-year-old gelding, which placed three times in group 1s to finish her last preparation.
“As he’s got a bit older he probably takes a run to really come on, but we’re happy with how he’s come up,” he said. “He’s coming off a fairly short let-up as well, so that probably negates things.”
Meanwhile, Lees was ready to farewell Zestful. The seven-year-old Widden Stud mare, a two-time black-type winner, will race in the group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m).
“She’s got a good Randwick record and it’s probably her last run before she goes to stud, so hopefully she goes out on a good note,” he said. “She’s done a wonderful job.”
The Redoute’s Choice mare has won six races in 23 starts and claimed the 2017 group 3 Triscay Stakes and the listed Razor Sharp Handicap in a career returning $432,650.
Lees also has Milseain making her Australian debut after a last-start third in the group 1 New Zealand Oaks. She will contest the 1400m benchmark 89 handicap.
“She’ll improve off the run,” Lees said.
“Those three-year-old fillies coming out of stakes races, you just never know where they measure up taking on the boys, but she’s worked well and settled in well.”
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