Talented mare Lucia Valentina was a standout performer for Kris Lees over the 2014 Australian racing calendar, and will line up for Saturday’s Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in prime condition, according to the Newcastle-based trainer.
Posting a commendable race record of five wins and a further four minor places over 16 competitive starts so far, Lucia Valentina returned to racing for a credible fourth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on February 14th, but was disappointing when failing to fire and ninth in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) a fortnight later.
Confident her most recent performance was consistent with those of her most recent racing campaigns, Lees told Racing Ahead he has been thrilled with the work completed by the four-year-old over the last fortnight and is confident she will perform upon returning to her pet racing distance in the 2015 Ranvet Stakes on Saturday.
“She is really well,” Lees said.
“Her second-up run was consistent with her other second-up runs with me, she raced a little flat and to the eye looked a touch plain.
“However, she has worked very well since and she had a very good gallop this morning without being put under any pressure on the course proper at Newcastle.
“She heads into the Ranvet Stakes in pretty good condition.
“I am hoping that we will get a similar result to what we have third run in.
Beginning her racing career under the guidance of Kiwi trainer Stephen Marsh before arriving in the care of Lees in early 2014, Lucia Valentina placed a credible third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) upon debuting in Australia, and while appearing to be outclassed when tenth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), responded in the best way possible when taking out the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later.
Returning to the paddock following a credible third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), the Savabeel mare charged home for an impressive win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 6th; running a forgettable sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) before again returning to the winner’s circle in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 4th.
Running third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) before failing to get the distance when 13th in the Melbourne Cup, Lucia Valentina is expected to be named in a small final field for the 2015 Ranvet Stakes on Wednesday.
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