Unable to secure enough votes to earn a spot and then rejected by the wild card selection panel, multiple Group One winner Le Romain has managed to force his way into the inaugural All-Star Mile on race eve.
And having now gained a start, his trainer Kris Lees is confident the gelding shapes as one of the better-credentialed runners in the A$5 million race at Flemington.
Foundry was scratched this morning after presenting with lameness in his left foreleg, meaning Le Romain gets a start after being the first reserve and will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn.
“We took the long road but we got there,” Lees said. “I can’t fault the horse. The three-week gap between his last run he will appreciate.
“He had a jumpout last Friday where he performed well and he backed that up with a nice gallop on the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday.
“He’s going into the race in good order and from a soft gate he looks to get a lovely run. He’ll run well.”
West Australian gelding Material Man and Queensland-based Urban Ruler had to be re-examined by vets today after lameness concerns, but have been passed fit to start. They will be examined again on-course tomorrow as a precaution.
Stewards have approved Material Man to wear a bar plate on his left fore, while outsider Urban Ruler will wear bar plates on both front feet.
Le Romain finished second to All-Star Mile favourite Alizee first-up this campaign in the Expressway Stakes in Sydney before being unplaced in the Futurity Stakes, also won by Alizee, at his last start.
He has won the Gr. 1 Cantala Stakes over the Flemington 1600m in 2016, while he also finished second in last year’s edition of the same race carrying 57.5kg.
Lees has been keen to get Le Romain into the All-Star Mile from the time the race was announced in November.
The top 10 vote getters from a public vote earned places while a Racing Victoria selection panel then issued four wild cards which went to Happy Clapper, Hartnell, Mystic Journey and Hawkshot.
The four emergencies were based on prize-money earned.
“We brought him in a touch earlier this preparation with a view of the programme that has now eventuated,” Lees said. “He’s getting there in the right frame of mind and the right condition.
“He’s a Group One winner at weight-for-age and I think he’s one of three or four horses who are in quite well at weight-for-age. And he has performed at the mile on this track.”