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Le Romain will avoid a clash with Winx early in his autumn campaign

Dual Group One winner Le Romain will avoid a clash with champion mare Winx early in his autumn campaign, with trainer Kris Lees confirming plans to kick him off in the Southern Cross Stakes.

Le Romain stepped out in a barrier trial at Wyong on Monday morning, pleasing Lees in the soft hit-out to finish second in a four-horse heat over 845m.

Lees had the the Group Three Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) and the weight-for-age Apollo Stakes (1400m) as first-up options for Le Romain at Randwick on February 11.

The trainer has chosen the shorter race, believing it suits Le Romain better as he begins a campaign aimed at the Doncaster Mile.

It also means he will not have to come up against dual Cox Plate winner Winx who is due to resume in the Apollo.

“It’s a bit of both”, Lees said.

“It’s the right distance and then he’ll probably go to the Canterbury Stakes.”

The weight-for-age Canterbury Stakes is over 1300m at Randwick on March 4 and will be Le Romain’s first Group One target for the autumn.

Lees said Le Romain would also probably run in the Group One George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 18, where he would meet Winx, in between the Canterbury Stakes and the $3 million Doncaster Mile on April 1.

“He trialled well this morning and he’s in good order,” Lees said.

“He’ll trial again next Wednesday and then resume on the 11th.

“It was only a soft trial this morning but I’m pretty pleased with how he is coming up.”

Le Romain won twice at Group One level over 1600m last year, taking out the the Randwick Guineas during the Sydney autumn carnival and the Cantala Stakes at Flemington in the spring at his most recent start on October 29.

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