Lucia Valentina Targets 2014 Turnbull Stakes Before Majors

Lucia Valentina

Vinery Stud Stakes winner Lucia Valentina will chase Group 1 glory in Melbourne this spring. Photo: Steve Hart.

Kris Lees’ Group 1 winning filly Lucia Valentina will look to add to her elite level record down under with the Kiwi expat to target the Turnbull Stakes 2014 before running in one of the spring’s majors.

The daughter of Savabeel was previously prepared in New Zealand by Stephen Marsh before being transferred to the care of Lees at his Newcastle base.

In Australia she’s had four runs, three of which were against her own kind at elite level during the autumn.

After a 12th to Steps In Time in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) when forced to change course at Rosehill, she improved dramatically and was too strong for her rivals when winning the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) back at the track.

Last start she put in another gun run when a close third behind another Kiwi filly, Rising Romance, in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) over more distance at Royal Randwick on April 19.

The Broadmeadow-based Lees confirmed this week that Lucia Valentina would resume racing in Sydney this spring before heading to Melbourne for the first time to do her new season Group 1 racing.

He is looking at either the $175,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 23 or the $125,000 Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m) at the same meeting for her resuming run.

Her first big test will then be in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 where she’ll be taking on an open field of older rivals.

Her Turnbull performance will then help Lees determine where she is at class and distance wise this time in, and whether they will target the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 or the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) under weight-for-age conditions at Moonee Valley the following weekend.

“I think I’ll take a similar path as what Chris Waller did with Royal Descent last year through the Turnbull Stakes,” Lees told Racing Victoria this week.

“That will then tell us whether she’s up to that grade.

“She’ll be nominated for all of the features and we’ll just see how she comes up, you’re always a little bit sceptical about three-year-old fillies in their first season against open company.”

In the early Caulfield Cup odds, led by Rising Romance, Lucia Valentina occupies the third line of betting at $15.

For the Cox Plate she’s at a longer price of $21.

Lucia Valentina will have her first spring trial at home at Newcastle next Monday.

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