Kris Lees will give Le Romain a well-earned rest after he lost no admirers with a close second in the group 1 Kennedy Mile after stepping up from the 1200-metre Everest.
The three-time group 1 winner, which claimed the Kennedy Mile (or Cantala Stakes) in 2016, hit the lead with 100 metres to go on Saturday but was beaten a half-length by Godolphin’s Best Of Days, which carried just 52 kilograms.
Le Romain, which had 57.5kg, was racing just three weeks after finishing a gutsy fourth in the $13 million Everest on a heavy Randwick track following a late call-up as an injury replacement. The $820,000 cheque that day and Saturday’s $180,000 prize took the six-year-old gelding, which couldn’t find a buyer as a $40,000 yearling, to $3,889,575 in stakes.
In five runs this preparation, Le Romain won only the group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Randwick first-up but earned just under $1.2 million in prizemoney overall.
“He’ll have a break now,” Lees said. “He’s had a great 12 months of racing. He’s only won one race but he's played at the highest level all the way through and earned a cheque every time he’s gone to the races.
“He looked home [on Saturday] but the lightweight got up and beat him, but it was the second-fastest mile race ever run at Flemington.”
Jockey James McDonald was glowing in his praise of the Hard Spun gelding.
“I love the horse,” McDonald said. “He’ll get his day in the sun. He just performs – 1200, a mile – it doesn't matter. He’s the man.”
Invincible Gem and El Dorado Dreaming also put in creditable efforts for their Newcastle trainer at the Derby Day meeting.
Invincible Gem was fifth in the group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) for mares but just 1 ½ lengths away from winner Shillelagh.
El Dorado Dreaming was a length away third in the group 2 Mumm Wakeful Stakes (2000m) for three-year-old fillies won by Aristia.
Lees said the pair will also be spelled with an autumn campaign in mind.
“She didn’t have a great run, but she had her chance at the end,” Lees said of Invincible Gem, which jumped from gate 12.
“But there’s no real excuses. They all ran good. It’s a competitive time of year and if you compete, you’re happy.”
Jockey Corey Brown was pleased with the effort of Invincible Gem.
“She actually run really well,” Brown said.
“If she had have drawn softer and had that easier run, she would have run better. She ran good.”
Seabrook, which is part-owned by Newcastle’s Tony Price, was sixth in the Empire Rose Stakes.
Scone trainer Brett Cavanough’s The Monstar was only a length away from winner Osborne Bulls when fourth in the group 2 TAB Stakes (1200m).
Lees, meanwhile, may have two runners on Melbourne Cup day at Flemington. He said Doukhan will only run in race four if the track is wet, Karavali, nominated for race two, will not feature but Princess Posh will contest the last.