Le Romain is on target for a mid-carnival clash with champion mare Winx after a first-up win at Randwick.
A two-time Group One winner, Le Romain scrambled home to beat Big Money by a short head in the Southern Cross Stakes on Monday.
It was a diminishing margin although the result was enough to satisfy trainer Kris Lees that Le Romain will be a leading Doncaster Mile chance.
But before the four-year-old heads to one of the marquee races during The Championships, Le Romain will take on Winx at weight-for-age in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.
Le Romain ($4.20) camped outside the leader, but it was the only place jockey Hugh Bowman wanted to be with his mount carrying 61kg.
“It wasn’t much more than a bit of trackwork, so slow they were going in the middle stages,” Bowman said.
“I know it wasn’t a weight-for-age race but he’s beaten some nice horses.”
Le Romain won the Randwick Guineas as a three-year-old last year and Lees said the gelding, as a November foal, was technically the same age when he won the Cantala Stakes during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
“He’s matured and filled out into a really nice horse now that he’s older” Lees said.
Big Money’s jockey Robert Thompson rued the closeness of the finish.
“I’d rather get beaten a length than a short head,” he told trainer Rodney Northam.