A standout performer over the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer Kris Lees has revealed he is confident Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina is a serious chance in this afternoon’s Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick.
Securing a commendable total of three race wins and as many minor places from just nine competitive starts to date, Lucia Valentina has not been seen at the races since finishing a commendable third behind fellow Tramway Stakes nominee Rising Romance in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
Confirming the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18th as the major target for the four-year-old this time in, Lees said he has been thrilled with the work completed by the Savabeel mare in the lead-up to the Tramway Stakes and is confident of a strong performance from the ideal barrier 5.
“It’s interesting to see how these fillies measure up now, stepping up into open company,” Lees told Racing Ahead.
“She gives me every indication she’s come back as good if not better, but again, you don’t know until you test them at this level.
“From the inside draw I’d like to see her settle a little closer than what she did last preparation but we’ll see where she ends up in the run.
“She’s a genuine place chance. I think she could run a real race.”
Beginning her racing career under the guidance of kiwi trainer Stephen Marsh before transferring to care of Lees at the beginning of the year, Lucia Valentina stamped her claims as one to watch from her maiden start in Australia; charging home to finish a fighting third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on March 8th.
Appearing well and truly outclassed when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 22nd, Lucia Valentina responded in the best way possible when charging home to win the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on Golden Slipper day, in what was her only other race start prior to the Oaks.
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