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Draws suit Lees pair in G1 Futurity Stakes

kris lees
Trainer Kris Lees is happy with the barriers for his Futurity runners Le Romain and Brave Smash.

Kris Lees is unfazed by the outside barrier for Le Romain who puts his All-Star Mile credentials on the line in the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

Success in Saturday’s Group One weight-for-age race is likely to secure the winner a wild card into the inaugural running of the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16.

Le Romain has drawn the widest gate in the 12-horse Futurity field but Lees says that is not too much of a concern,

“He’s not a horse that likes being cluttered up,” Lees said.

“He doesn’t have a turn of foot and he likes to get rolling into his races.

“If he gets over into the right spot he’s going to be able to get rolling when it suits.

“He’s often won from ordinary draws so I’m not that concerned by it.”

The Newcastle trainer, who won last Saturday’s Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington with In Her Time, said Le Romain would normally start his autumn campaign a little later with an emphasis on Sydney.

But the lure of the All-Star Mile meant he was in work earlier and the Futurity fitted nicely into his program.

Brave Smash also runs for Lees with the horse looking to go back-to-back in the Futurity having won it last year for Darren Weir.

Lees took over the training of Brave Smash before he finished fourth behind Manuel in the C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield on February 9.

While still learning about Brave Smash, Lees has gained valuable insight from the horse’s principle owners, Australian Bloodstock, as well as from a brief conversation with the now-disqualified Weir.

“They’ve been very open with their feedback and I’ve followed the horse closely since his arrival in Australia,” Lees said.

“It’s been relatively smooth but you keep learning about the horses as they go.

“I think his previous run and his work since suggests he’s going to run a good race.”

As happy as he is with Le Romain’s wide draw, Lees is equally pleased with barrier two for Brave Smash.

“Most importantly for him he’s got a soft draw and will get cover which is very important for his style of racing,” Lees said.

Brave Smash is rated a $7 chance and Le Romain $9 with Godolphin mare Alizee the $2.40 favourite.

Alizee already has a berth in the All-Star Mile as one of the top vote getters in the public poll to choose 10 of the 14 horses in the field.

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