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Trainer Kris Lees revealed that current 2014 Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina is in good order for Saturday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) after floating down to Melbourne last Saturday night.
The four-year-old mare began her 2014 spring racing season in great form with a Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) victory first up at Royal Randwick on September 6 and still managed to run really well in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) last up on the same course, despite finishing sixth.
Speaking to RSN Sport Tuesday morning, Lees revealed the mare has pulled up well from her last start and is in good form ahead of the 2014 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse.
“She came through the run really well, it wasn’t too taxing on her,” Lees said.
“She floated down to Melbourne Saturday night and arrived in good order on Sunday.
“We had a little look around the Caulfield course this morning and she appears in good shape.”
Currently $5.50 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au in the early Turnbull Stakes betting market, Lucia Valentia will make her first Melbourne start on Saturday after predominately running in Sydney.
Asked if she was fit enough to win the Turnbull Stakes, Lees said: “I do think there’s more to come [down the track with the bigger goals] but it’ll be a very nice race for her.
“She performed very well on her third run in last preparation in the Vinery Stakes, she’s a mare that comes to hand pretty well quickly and she’s about the same weight now as what she raced in the Australian Oaks so she won’t carry any excess.”
Lucia Valentina delivered an outstanding performance in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) back in April, where she was so far off the leaders with 800m to go yet was able to win running away due to a late run up the fence.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy will partner Lucia Valentina for the 2014 Turnbull Stakes, after bringing her home in both the Tramway and George Main.
Lees has revealed he’ll work the four-year-old towards the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) rather than the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after the Turnbull, for which she is currently sharing favouritism with Bande at $9 odds.
“It will be the Caulfield Cup. For a mare with that type of weight it is the more attractive option.”
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