03/29/2017 1:20PM

Australia: Le Romain avoids facing Winx in Doncaster Mile

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Le Romain is safe in Saturday’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick racecourse in Australia.

Winx, Australia’s top-rated horse, is not part of the field for the $2.29 million Doncaster Mile, which is billed as the world’s richest one-mile handicap. Winx is scheduled to run in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 8.

In her absence, the Doncaster Mile on turf has a competitive field of 20, led by Le Romain, Palentino, and Happy Clapper.

The Doncaster Mile is the richest race on Saturday’s program at Royal Randwick, the first of two Saturday programs of major stakes billed as The Championships in Australia. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com. Post time is 11:10 p.m. Pacific on Friday.

Le Romain, a 4-year-old gelding by Hard Spun, was beaten 7 1/4 lengths by Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes on March 18, Winx’s 16th consecutive win. Le Romain, who will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, won consecutive starts earlier this year, including the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Randwick on March 4.

Hauraki was third in the Canterbury and fourth in the George Ryder. A 5-year-old gelding by Reset, Hauraki won the Group 1 Epsom Stakes at Randwick last October and was second in the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes at Flemington in November. Owned by Godolphin Racing, Hauraki will carry the top weight of 127 pounds, one pound more than Le Romain and Palentino.

Le Romain was the 5-1 favorite in early betting in Australia on Wednesday, a sign of the competitive nature of the Doncaster Mile.

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Palentino is listed as a 12-1 chance. A 4-year-old colt by Teofilo, Palentino won the Group 2 Blamey Stakes at a mile at Flemington on March 18, ending a six-race losing streak since the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington last September.

Happy Clapper, an 8-1 shot in early betting, won a prep race for the Doncaster Mile in the Group 3 Newmarket Stakes at Newcastle on March 17. Happy Clapper was second to Winx in the 2016 Doncaster Mile.

There are two American-breds in the field, both owned by Godolphin and trained by John O’Shea – It’s Somewhat, by Dynaformer, and Spectroscope, by Medaglia d’Oro.

It’s Somewhat, a 6-year-old gelding, won the Group 2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill on March 11 for the second consecutive year. The Ajax Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs was It’s Somewhat’s first start since October.

Spectroscope, a 4-year-old colt, is unbeaten in two starts since being transferred from France to Australia. Spectroscope won the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs last Saturday.