Dual Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina will be out to break a year-long winning drought when she lines-up in one of the key support acts on Emirates Stakes Day on Saturday, the Matriarch Stakes 2015.
Open to mares only, this year’s $300,000 Group 2 Presto Matriarch Stakes (2000m) features a capacity field of 16 starters plus two emergencies.
Wearing the number one saddlecloth with top hoop Damien Oliver booked for the ride is Kris Lees’ $1.34 million earner Lucia Valentina.
The five-year-old hasn’t won a race since October last year when she took out the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (1600m) before her brave third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
This time in she has finished better than sixth just once when fourth in Sydney’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m), with her two subsequent runs producing eighth and ninth place finishes in elite level company.
She is down in class and distance then off an unplaced Caulfield Cup run, but goes up from 53kg to Saturday’s 59.5kg top weight.
Also drawn wide are Mastercraftsman four-year-old Thunder Lady (15 into 14) and Lees’ other runner in the race Oriental Lady (18 into 16) who was third over 2040m carrying 60kg at Moonee Valley last start.
There are two last start winners in the Matriarch Stakes field this Melbourne Cup Carnival with the Peter Moody-trained Tavistock four-year-old Imperial Lass and Zarzali for James Cummings.
Sharing a sire with this year’s VRC Derby winner Tarzino, Imperial Lass has won her past two starts most recently under the lights at the Valley on October 23 when taking out the same race that produces Oriental Lady for Saturday’s rematch.
Zarzali will be on a very short turnaround having only raced on Melbourne Cup Day winning over 1700m by a quarter length with Glen Boss in the saddle, who retains the ride this weekend from the same inside alley as Tuesday’s victory.
Other in-form mares in contention include Kiwi raider Pondarosa Miss in her Australian debut, James McDonald’s mount Casino Dancer having her 51st career start but first at Flemington and the Chris Waller-trained Ballet Suite.
A four-year-old daughter of High Chaparral, Ballet Suite was last seen running at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day when fourth to Coronation Shallan in the Group 3 Teiso Stakes (1600m) beaten under two lengths.
The winner of that race Coronation Shallan goes up in class on Saturday taking on a tough field in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) while Waller keeps Ballet Suite racing against her own kind.
The Teiso Stakes produced last year’s Matriarch Stakes winner Suavito (2014) who completed the double before coming back this autumn to win Caulfield’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) in late February, which could be a target next year for Saturday’s winner.
Check out the full Matriarch Stakes 2015 field, barriers and jockeys below.
Then to access Best Tote or SP + 20% markets across the Emirates Stakes Day card at Flemington on Saturday, head to Ladbrokes.com.au and open your account!
2015 Matriarch Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 8 (5:05pm) – 07/11/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||49376×6489||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||16||59.5kg||110|
|2||535×868268||THUNDER LADY (NZ)||John Sargent||Blake Shinn||15||58.5kg||92|
|3||5748×76443||ORIENTAL LADY (GER)||Kris Lees||Damian Browne||18||57.5kg||84|
|4||73510×0872||PONDAROSA MISS (NZ)||Peter Hollinshead||Dwayne Dunn||13||57.5kg||100|
|5||7752250513||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||James McDonald||9||56.5kg||94|
|6||2160641676||NO TRICKS (NZ)||Wayne Walters||Stephen Baster||2||56.5kg||89|
|7||14817×5504||BALLET SUITE||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||4||56kg||86|
|8||x948314128||MANAGERESS||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Chris Parnham||10||55kg||88|
|9||x31532x844||UNGRATEFUL ELLEN||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||12||55kg||82|
|10||123341×832||SURE YOU CAN (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||6||55kg||78|
|11||88332×0853||LADY CUMQUAT||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||8||55kg||84|
|12||30x3653x11||IMPERIAL LASS (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||14||55kg||81|
|13||115734×731||ZARZALI||James Cummings||Glen Boss||1||55kg||87|
|14||213665×766||INISHOWEN||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Craig Newitt||11||55kg||76|
|15||2334×55359||SPANISH LOVE (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Chad Schofield||3||55kg||70|
|16||33×612114||LONG FACE GRACE||Mark Kavanagh||Ben Melham||7||55kg||78|
|17e||31825×5536||RING DA BELLE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||5||55kg||74|
|18e||411x4x5905||HOLY COW||Michael Kent||–||17||55kg||70|