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All punters are hearing about in the lead-up to the Cox Plate 2016 is Winx and Hartnell, but is Lucia Valentina a smoky chance to score a boilover in the weight-for-age classic?
There are officially 10 runner sin Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), but going by the headlines and the markets there are just two runners.
Winx defends her title after the romp home last year and shoots for a 13th win on the trot this weekend.
She is the one to beat obviously and it’ll be a sell out at Moonee Valley to watch her attempt to join Hall of Fame mares Sunline and Flight by winning multiple editions of the spring major on the weekend.
If she gets rolled the Cox Plate betting markets say it’ll be by Hartnell ($3.70) who faces off against the daughter of Street Cry for the fourth time, but finally at his best.
Further down the markets at $26 and easing is the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina, a star in her own right and a forgotten Cox Plate horse this spring.
She’s in the wrong edition of the feature obviously and any other year she wouldn’t be at a blow-out price considering she is a dual Group 1 winner over the distance and international performer.
Whether the daughter of Savabeel really handles the Melbourne way is questionable, but she was far from disgraced when third to Black Heart Bart at Caulfield in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) in late September.
She hasn’t raced since and that goes against her history-wise on Saturday.
That said, Lees knows his Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner better than the history books do so with the gun record over the Cox Plate distance surely she must be considered a danger?
“They don’t race in lanes, this is a horse race and there are a lot of variables,” Lees told The Daily Telegraph .
“We are going to the track confident our mare can run well.”
So can Lucia Valentina score the biggest Cox Plate upset since Pinker Pinker ($25 in 2011)?
2016 Cox Plate Horse Form #9 Lucia Valentina
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer: Kris Lees
Owner/s: Mr L Petagna
Breeding: by Savabeel from Staryn Glenn (NZ)
Last 6: x41x43
Prize Money: $4,254,803
Current 2016 Cox Plate Odds: $26
Why Lucia Valentina is an Each Way Cox Plate Chance
- Barrier nine is more favourable than the fence at the Valley and last produced a Cox Plate winner in Ocean Park (2012)
- She’ll be running on from the back from the suitable gate
- She is a Group 1 weight-for-age winner over this distance
- She ran third last time out and the past five Cox Plate winners finished in the money in their lead-up run
- If the rain comes she is suited to Soft (10-4-12) and Heavy (2-2-0-0) tracks
- She is a multiple Group 1 champion and has won over $4.2 million in prize money
- The last mare before Winx to win was Pinker Pinker ($25 in 2011) at a similar blow-out price
- Is a specialist at the distance (8-4-1-1) and has the best record over the 2000m along with #3 Hartnell (8-4-0-1)
- No major historical or statistical hoodoos to overcome
Why Lucia Valentina Won’t Win the 2016 Cox Plate
- She hasn’t raced since the Underwood Stakes and no Cox Plate winner has backed-up directly off that race in over 30 years
- Kerrin McEvoy has never ridden a Cox Plate winner
- Kris Lees has never trained a Cox Plate winner
- She has twice been defeated by Winx including first-up in the Warwick Stakes (4th)
- Is yet to have a race start at Moonee Valley
- Performs better in Sydney
- No six-year-old has won the Cox Plate since Maldivian (2008)
- Mares only have a fair record in the race enhanced in recent years by the wins of genuine turf stars Makybe Diva (2005) and Winx (2015)
- Has the third worst Win Rate (24%) of the Cox Plate field
Fancy a sneaky Each Way Cox Plate 2016 bet on Lucia Valentina? Head to Ladbrokes.com.au now for Enhanced Odds on the race (T&Cs apply)!
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