Weather conditions in the greater Melbourne metropolitan region through the last 24 hours have undoubtedly strengthened Lucia Valentina’s chances of being crowned the 2016 Cox Plate winner at Moonee Valley in just over half an hour.
A noted wet track performer, Lucia Valentina has returned to blistering form in 2016 but is set to jump at longs odds in the Cox Plate as punters continue to rally around champion mare Winx and Godolphin entrant Hartnell.
Posting a career total of seven wins and six minors through twenty-nine starts so far, Lucia Valentina broke through for her maiden win at the highest level in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m), and won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) during the subsequent Spring Carnival.
Unable to return to winning form until she produced a big performance to win the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at the conclusion of the 2015 Spring Carnival, the Savabeel mare was set on a trip abroad in December and ran a credible fifth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.
Resuming this year for fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 12th, Lucia Valentina mustered a huge turn of foot to post her career-best result to date in the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
Lucia Valentina has so-far finished fourth in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and third in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) this time in, and should receive a dream run from barrier 9 in the Cox Plate this afternoon.
Kerrin McEvoy will take the ride on the six-year-old in the Cox Plate, who has firmed slightly into a quote of $18 only hours from jump.
European raider Vadamos is currently tied on the fourth line of Cox Plate betting with Lucia Valentina and is another runner than should not find much issue with the soft Moonee Valley track.
Vadamos has only finished outside the first three a handful of times through his eighteen career starts so far and will be partnered by Mark Zahra in the Cox Plate.
While yet to run in Australia, the Monsun entire has won all of the Group 2 Prix Du Muguet (1600m), Group 3 Prix Messidor (1600m) and Group 1 Prix Du Moulin (1600m) in France most notably this year.
Three-year-old Yankee Rose has drifted to Cox Plate odds of $16 but remains sole occupant of the third line of betting at Ladbrokes Australia, behind Winx ($1.85) and Hartnell ($3.70).
With just over half an our until the 2016 Cox Plate winner is confirmed, Winx has firmed into $1.75 favouritism, ahead of Hartnell ($4.80), Yankee Rose ($11) and Lucia Valentina ($15).