While Kerrin McEvoy isn’t confident a local horse can hold off the internationals in the 2014 Melbourne Cup he does believe his mount Lucia Valentina is the right type to last the two miles in the famous Flemington Race 7 next Tuesday.
There were 40 second acceptances taken for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Monday, 39 of those still in contention after Gai Waterhouse announced her one-time favourite The Offer would not be accepted for.
Featuring in those Melbourne Cup second declarations are a dozen international raiders, two of which dominate the latest markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Japan’s Tomoyuki Umeda will saddle-up the 58.5kg Melbourne Cup top weight and current $4.80 favourite Admire Rakti who shot to the top of the odds after carrying a comparable 58kg to victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
The second line of Melbourne Cup betting is then led by the Andreas Wohler-trained Monsun stallion from Germany Protectionist ($7) who debuted down under when fourth behind Big Memory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 11.
Close third elect at $7.50 is then McEvoy’s mount, the Kris Lees-trained Savabeel mare Lucia Valentina.
The four-year-old won her second Group 1 two back at Flemington when beating home the Peter Moody-trained stable mates Lidari and Brambles, who are both also set for a Melbourne Cup run, in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
That victory saw her shoot to the top of Caulfield Cup betting before she ran a credible third under a length off the winning top weight following a wide run with McEvoy in the saddle.
Her performance in the Caulfield Cup might not have produced a win but McEvoy said there were plenty of excuses and looking ahead at a step up to the 3200m it was an ideal effort from the mare who gets the chance to turn the tables on Admire Rakti next week.
The Japanese horse is going to be hard to beat at Flemington (in the Melbourne Cup) but she was an unlucky loser (in the Caulfield Cup), I feel, and didn’t get the right run in transit and got pushed wide in the bend,” he told The Australian.
Despite Lucia Valentina not yet being tested over further than 2400m, McEvoy believes she will handle the extra metres in the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s a bit of an unknown but it is worth a throw at the stumps,” he said.
“She is a very relaxed filly and mare to ride and everything points to her being able to conserve her energy for the right part of the race at the end of the two miles.”
That said, he’s not quite sure she will be first past the post.
“It looks as though it is going to head overseas,” McEvoy said.
The Newcastle-based Lees threw in a $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) nomination for Lucia Valentina on Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.
The entry however was just a back-up in case the wet weather in Melbourne prevented her from completing the required trackwork before her acid test on November 4.
To check out the full futures Melbourne Cup betting markets and get behind Lucia Valentina to keep the ‘Loving Trophy’ on home soil, head to Ladbrokes.com.au where you will enjoy up to $500 in bonus bets this season!