Le Romain and James McDonald return to scale victors of the 1200m Group Three Nexon Show County Quality (Lisa Grimm)
There’s an old saying that weight will stop a train and Le Romain did, briefly, look like he might run out of steam in Saturday’s Group Three Nexon Show County Quality over 1200m at Royal Randwick.
And who could have blamed him: the triple Group One winner was lugging 61 kilos, while the slightly more fancied, Siege of Quebec, was eight kilos shy. However, after hitting the lead 200m from home, Le Romain wasn’t prepared to give his rival an inch, eventually running out a length and a half winner.
Surprisingly, it was the first return to the winners’ enclosure for Le Romain since capturing the Group One Canterbury Stakes (beating Chautauqua in a thriller) back in March 2017, but the now 6YO has hardly been disappointing. Indeed, the 10 starts between drinks having included five seconds (four of those at Group One level), a third in the Doomben 10,000 and a fourth behind Trapeze Artist in the TJ Smith, again at Group One.
Complicating matters, Le Romain had a serious colic attack last year and had to be operated on for a twisted bowel.
“It was lucky they picked it up so early and operated on him straight away,” explains Mark Carusi who, with brother Anthony, bred and part-owns Le Romain. “Le Romain has had his share of bad luck along the way … he draw really badly in the Doomben 10,000 and finished less than half a length from the winner (English), and was then beaten a lip in the (Group One) Kingsford Smith Cup.”
(In the space of 35 days, Le Romain was placed in three Group Ones and was beaten 0.2, 0.4 and 0.1 lengths).
Le Romain has currently won seven of 27 starts with 13 placings for $2,792,075 in stakes, with his other Group One successes being the Randwick Guineas and Cantala Stakes.
Following the 2016 Cantala, the Carusis were offered $2.5 million for Le Romain but decided to keep a firm grip on the now 6YO … a decision they have never regretted, even during the twisted bowel surgery.
They may well have pulled the right rein. After all, following Saturday’s Show County Quality, there is considerable talk about Le Romain being offered a slot in October’s $13 million The Everest.
“It would be terrific if he got a run in the Everest,” Carusi points out, “but we’re not pushing for it. I’d like (trainer) Kris (Lees) to run him in the ($1 million Group One) Epsom Handicap (over 1600m at Randwick on 29 September) but it will depend on what weight he gets … 57 kilos would be nice! If not the Epsom, the weight for age ($1 million Group One) Darley Classic (over 1200m at Flemington on 10 November) is also an option.
“He’s a fantastic horse, tough as they come and I reckon he’s got another couple of Group Ones in him at the very least.”
Concreters by trade and based at Camden in NSW, the Carusis keep their mares at Laurie McCarthy’s Greta West Stud in north east Victoria which is where Le Romain’s dam, Mignard, normally resides.
Purchased by the Carusis for $18,000 at the 2009 Inglis Spring Thoroughbred Sale, Mignard – a winning Strategic mare from the family of Champion 2YO Black Shoes – was sent to former Darley stallion, Hard Spun (63 stakes winners) in the spring of 2011. The resultant foal … Le Romain.
“I loved Hard Spun … he was a terrific stallion and wish he was still standing in Australia,” Carusi adds. “Le Romain’s half sister, Isabeau, only had the one start for us, while the 3YO out of the mare, Mikuro (by Kuroshio) was passed in for $140,000 on the Gold Coast last year and has since placed in two of her three runs. The full sister to Mikuro – Mbappe – is now a 2YO and will be raced by us too and the same goes for the Exosphere filly foaled last year.
“Mignard is in foal to Frosted and will be heading off to Astern this spring.”