Smart mare Luvaluva will stay on the East Coast of Australia and head to Kembla Grange for the inaugural running of the $1m The Gong (1600m) on Saturday after trainer John Sargent dismissed a proposed trip to Perth for 2019 Ascot Racing Carnival.
Luvaluva holds a nomination for the Group 1 $1m Magic Millions Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in Perth on December 7 but the Randwick based trainer is happy to keep the mare in familiar territory and stay close to home.
The five year old mare was a late starter for the 2019 Spring Carnival but Sargent has been happy with her two runs back which produced a first up second in the $160,000 Filante Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on October 26 and a fifth in the Group 2 $500,000 Hot Danish Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on November 9,
“She missed the earlier races in the spring and we thought about taking her to Perth but in the end the planes go too soon and things didn’t fit in,” Sargent told AAP.
“So she will run in The Gong and then be aimed at the Villiers along with House Of Cartier.
“I’’ve been very pleased with Luvaluva’s two starts. Tim Clark will ride her in the race and he will also come and gallop her on Tuesday morning.”
Luvaluva was at her peak during her three year old year with three wins at Group 2 and Group 3 level which included a victory in the Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival before finishing fourth in the Group 1 $1m Kennedy Oaks (2500m) at Flemington five days later.
Luvaluva has won over the same course and distance as The Gong when she took out the 2018 Group 3 $200,000 Kembla Grange Classic in March that year but hasn’t visited the winner’s stall since her victory at her next start in the Group 3 $200,000 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Early betting for The Gong at Ladbrokes.com.au has Luvaluva marked as the equal $6 second favourite alongside of the Chris Waller trained Star Of The Seas while the Kris Lees trained El Dorado Dreaming heads the marked order at $5.
Betting for the 2019 The Gong at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 El Dorado Dreaming, $6 Star Of The Seas, Luvaluva, $8 Military Zone, Mister Sea Wolf, $12 Looks Like Elvis, Dr Drill, Noble Boy, $14 Nicoletta, Quackerjack, $15 Articus, Asterius, $19 Ranier, $21 The Candy Man, $26 Goodfella, $31 Jonker, Taikomochi, $34 Tamarack, $51 Gresham, Sir Plush, Strome, $61 Testashadow, $101 Turnberry, $201 All But Gone, Esteem Spirit.