Lucia Valentina is set to start the 2014 Australian Oaks as favourite after recording an impressive win in the 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Jockey Hugh Bowman settled Lucia Valentina at the tail of the field, after she missed the jump, while Solicit took up the running in the early stages of the race.
Solicit kicked clear from the rest of the field coming around the final turn, but Bowman elected to cut the corner and the Savabeel filly stormed home on the rail to score her maiden win in Australia.
Lucia Valentina joined the stable of Kris Lees at the end of her summer campaign in New Zealand and she immediately showed her talent with a third place finish in the Group 3 Surround Stakes (1400m) and she was far from disgraced when working home late in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m).
Lees admitted that he was concerned when Lucia Valentina was settled at the tail of the field, but was delighted with her fast-finishing effort and is now heading into the Australian Oaks full of confidence.
“I am wrapped,” Lees said.
“I was a little bit concerned when she was last in the run, we had a plan to be midfield if possible, and Hughie had no other option, but to go into the wet going on the fence.
“She was strong at the finish, like we expected her to be, she is a genuine stayer and I think she will improve again off that.”
Hugh Bowman was celebrating his second Group 1 victory in as many weeks, after taking out the Rosehill Guineas with Criterion last weekend, and he almost replicated that ride in the Vinery Stud Stakes this weekend.
Bowman revealed that Lucia Valentina got into a bit of trouble jumping from the gates and said that he was delighted with the way that the three-year-old finished off the race.
“Define beside be jumped out and just cleaned me up.
“She is a tiny little filly and she jumped on terms, but she couldn’t handle the pressure.
“It was a muddly run, she had a lot to do at the 600, but she was dominant.
“I was travelling well and I had her in her comfort zone the whole way and once I let her go I had a bit of confidence.
“Between the 600 and the 400 I think she went from last to third and it was a gallant effort to run down Solicit because she was a long way out in front. “
Lucia Valentina is set to start the 2014 Australian Oaks as favourite and you can find the best odds at Ladbrokes.com.au!
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