Lucia Valentina Primed for 2014 Caulfield Cup

October 9th, 2014

Returning to the track in typically scintillating form this season, trainer Kris Lees is confident classy mare Lucia Valentina will line up for the featured Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18th in prime condition.

Trainer Kris Lees is pleased with the condition of 2014 Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina

Trainer Kris Lees is pleased with the condition of 2014 Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Jumping from the gates well in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last weekend, Lucia Valentina settled in prime position on the heels of early leaders Brambles and Lidari; finding a clear racing line upon reaching the final straight and extending to secure a second victory at the highest level of Australian racing and outright favouritism in 2014 Caulfield Cup betting markets.

Having suffered a minor foot injury in the lead-up to the Turnbull Stakes, Lees admitted he was worried the Savabeel mare would be unable to figure in the race’s late stages, but is confident the strong race win will translate into peak form leading into the Caulfield Cup.

“It’s never ideal when they have an issue midweek, she hasn’t done any fast work since Tuesday. Of course I was concerned. She had a bit of heat in her foot, I rushed down Wednesday night, therefore we didn’t work her Thursday morning which might have been a blessing,” Lees said following the Turnbull triumph.

“A win was a bonus. You don’t want any setbacks in group 1 races. She had two relatively soft races coming into the race, so I would have liked to have stuck a bit more work into her. She’s teaching me how to train her, making sure I don’t gallop her too hard.

“It was a great ride from Kerrin (McEvoy). He put her in a perfect spot, she needed luck to get a bit of clear running and come at the right time and she was strong at the line.

“She will now go to the Caulfield Cup and we will assess from there.”

Securing an impressive total of five race wins and a further three minor places from her 12 competitive starts so far, Lucia Valentina began her racing career under the guidance of kiwi trainer Stephen Marsh before transferring to the care of Lees at the beginning of the year.

Finishing third in her maiden Australian start in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on March 8th, the mare out of Staryn Glenn appeared outclassed when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 22nd, but responded in the best way possible when charging home to win the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) just a fortnight later; returning to the paddock after running third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).

Having won the Group 1 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up before finishing sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) in her only other starts prior to the Turnbull, Lucia Valentina is currently available at generous odds of $6 for success in the 2014 Caulfield Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au.

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