More than stamping her claims as a serious spring contender when charging home to win the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up on September 6th, trainer Kris Lees is confident Lucia Valentina will perform to a typically high standard in this weekend’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m), but concedes the race will be a big test.
Jumping from the gates only fairly in the Tramway Stakes, Lucia Valentina settled well off the pace of the race’s early leaders, and while appearing to be out of contention when arriving at the final straight, displayed a superior turn to foot to find the line nearly two lengths in the clear of closest rival Tiger Tees.
Pleased with the continually building form and class of the Savabeel mare in the lead-up to the George Main Stakes, Lees identified classy three-year-old Panzer Division as the horse to beat, and is yet to decide on a path for the four-year-old following Saturday in building toward her major target; the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
“It’s a good test for her stepping up to weight-for-age but she’ll run well,” Lees told AAP.
“It’s a good race for three-year-olds over time and Panzer Division might be the horse to beat.
“The George Main should give us a good indication where we are heading.
“There is an option to stay in Sydney but I’d say we’d go down to Melbourne and run her in the Turnbull Stakes as her lead-up to the Caulfield Cup.”
Securing a commendable total of four wins and three minor places from her ten 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 the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) first-up on March 8th, the mare out of Staryn Glenn appeared out of her depth when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 22nd, but responded in the best way possible when breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 5th; returning to the paddock after running on for third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
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