Robert Ng’s Romanised has Santa Anita on his radar after a convincing display in Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville, a “Win and You’re in” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Trained by Ken Condon in Ireland, the son of Holy Roman Emperor earned his prior Group 1 laurel in last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) but had failed to build on that effort at three. Now the mature four-year-old is fulfilling his long-held promise, and arguably providing a needed boost to the European mile scene.
Romanised hinted that he could be poised for a more productive 2019 when fourth in the Lockinge (G1) at Newbury and a closer, if troubled, fourth in the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot. The dark bay snapped his losing streak in the July 20 Minstrel (G2) at the Curragh, clocking seven furlongs in a snappy 1:22.07, and followed up back at the top level here.
As Vocal Music, the pacemaker for Study of Man, and Romanised’s stablemate Success Days went forward, the eventual winner was reserved in fifth. Taking closer order in stalking positions were sophomores Shaman and Line of Duty (the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf [G1]) victor), while traveling a little further behind was another three-year-old, Coronation S. (G1) heroine Watch Me, the 2-1 favorite in her first try versus older males.
Shaman made his move with about a quarter-mile to go down the straightway, but Romanised was traveling sweetly in his slipstream for Billy Lee. Drawing alongside his younger foe, Romanised had a brief tussle on his hands before asserting by 1 1/4 lengths.
Runner-up Shaman did his part to uphold the form from the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) (G1), where he filled the same spot behind now-sidelined Persian King.
Line of Duty rallied late and just missed second by a nose in his best effort of the season. The Godolphin runner clearly appreciated the cutback to a mile after unplaced efforts in the Dante (G2) and Derby (G1).
Watch Me checked in fourth, trailed by Graignes, Study of Man, and longshot pacesetters Success Days and Vocal Music.
Romanised reeled off the metric mile in 1:35.16 on the good course, improving upon his distant fifth in last year’s Marois on good-to-soft. He’s been highly tried ever since his debut score as a juvenile, or else his career record of 14-4-1-0 might have looked better. Unplaced in the 2017 Coventry (G2) and Phoenix (G1), Romanised was second to future Derby hero Masar in the Solario (G3). After upsetting the Irish 2000 Guineas, he was unplaced in the St James’s Palace (G1) and Queen Elizabeth II (G1) as well as the Marois.
His peaking as an older horse fits his pedigree, as a three-quarter brother to former Hong Kong Horse of the Year Designs on Rome. Romanised’s dam Romantic Venture, herself a full sister to multiple Group 3 winner Sights on Gold and a half to Designs on Rome, is responsible for two others who excelled with age – Irish highweight Fictional Account and Italian Group 3 scorer Rock of Romance.