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2014 Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina may have missed out on a win to Admire Rakti and Rising Romance, but her strong third placing wasn’t without success.
After the mare’s solid run that saw her forced to run outside the dominant Japanese stayer Admire Rakti but still hit the line strongly, trainer Kris Lees is confident of a successful Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) tilt for Lucia Valentina.
“I’m confident she could finish in the first five on that run,” Lees told TVN on Sunday.
“I like the way she copped a fair bit of adversity and still savaged the line with the quickest last 200 metres of the race and still ran through the line.
“I’m more confident of her running two miles today than I was yesterday. I was wondering whether she might be too brilliant for two miles, but I think she’ll run it on yesterday.
“I think we’ve got to push on. She’ll probably only get one chance at it. I’d like to think next year she’d be a weight-for-age horse.”
Lees said Lucia Valentia came through the run well and should be fighting fit for a 2014 Melbourne Cup run.
“I’m pleased with how she came through it. She’s a tough little mare,” he said.
“She all but ate and drank half a bucket of water and was nice and bright when I took her for a pick. She was quite alert, which is a good sign.
“The Melbourne Cup will only be her fifth run in. It’s not as if she’s had a real taxing preparation.”
Lucia Valentina began her spring racing campaign with a win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 6, in which she ran home faster than you could imagine.
She followed it up a fast-finishing sixth place in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) before returning to winning glory in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 4, which shot her to favourite in the Caulfield Cup betting.
The quality stayer has more than proven herself and is deserving of a start in the Melbourne Cup, Lees said.
Admire Rakti leads the Melbourne Cup 2014 odds at Ladbrokes.com.au following his Caulfield Cup win, with a price of $4.60. Lucia Valentina is third-favourite at $7.
It is worth noting however that Lucia Valentina ran the quickest last 200-metres on Saturday at 11.84 seconds. Admire Rakti covered the same distance in 11.93 seconds.
The Japanese stayer is also liable for a rehandicap, which will likely work in Lucia Valentina’s favour.
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