Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina broke a long run of outs with a near last to first win in the Group 2 $300,000 Presto Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington today.
The Kris Lees trained Lucia Valentina had plenty of work to do with 59.5kg when Damien Oliver took her back towards the rear of the field from barrier fourteen.
Oliver was happy to sit quiet until the 600m where he started to make his move and sent the Savabeel mare on a course around the entire field.
When heads were turned for home Lucia Valentina ($3.60 favourite) was the widest runner and Oliver continued to move out wider on the track to find the best going near the outside fence.
The five year old mare kept coming and was able to find plenty to win by a length over Manageress ($10) with Casino Dancer ($16) finding third in a very congested run to the line.
Oliver’s win in the Matriarch Stakes was the champion jockey’s third for the day on the final day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival after winning earlier on Divan in the $100,000 Starlight Children’s Foundation Plate (2000m) and on Rhythm To Spare in the $100,000 Antler Luggage Handicap (1600m).
Oliver also claimed the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Thursday on the Ciaron Maher trained Jameka.
“He is a great asset to have when you come down and certainly makes your job a little easier,” Lees said about Oliver.
Lucia Valentina has been out of the winner’s stall since winning the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival and it was good to see her back in winning form.
“She is not a big mare. She has been out of the winner’s stall now for over a year so we thought we need to drop her back and hopefully get her a bit of confidence and she was really strong late,” Lees said.
“She didn’t get any favours. She had to come around then with the big weight. She might have found a little bit better ground but it is still a very good effort.”
Lees said a trip to Hong Kong for the Group 1 HK$25m Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in December was a possibility but he was confident that she would race through the Autumn and the Winter next year before being retired to stud.
Matriarch Stakes Results
|1||1||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||–||14||59.5kg||$3.60F|
|2||8||MANAGERESS||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Chris Parnham||1L||9||55kg||$10|
|3||5||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||James McDonald||1.5L||8||56.5kg||$16|
|4||9||UNGRATEFUL ELLEN||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||1.8L||11||55kg||$8.50|
|5||6||NO TRICKS (NZ)||Wayne Walters||Stephen Baster||2.1L||2||56.5kg||$21|
|6||10||SURE YOU CAN (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||2.2L||5||55kg||$31|
|7||13||ZARZALI||James Cummings||Glen Boss||2.3L||1||55kg||$6|
|8||15||SPANISH LOVE (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Walker||3.3L||3||55kg||$81|
|9||12||IMPERIAL LASS (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||4.05L||13||55kg||$16|
|10||3||ORIENTAL LADY (GER)||Kris Lees||Damian Browne||4.25L||15||57.5kg||$26|
|11||17e||RING DA BELLE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||6.25L||4||55kg||$41|
|12||11||LADY CUMQUAT||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||6.35L||7||55kg||$21|
|13||14||INISHOWEN||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Craig Newitt||8.35L||10||55kg||$31|
|14||4||PONDAROSA MISS (NZ)||Peter Hollinshead||Dwayne Dunn||8.45L||12||57.5kg||$12|
|15||16||LONG FACE GRACE||Mark Kavanagh||Ben Melham||9.2L||6||55kg||$16|