Talented staying filly Luvaluva laid down her claims for next week’s Australian Oaks with a hard fought win in the Group 3 $200,000 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) on day one of The Championships at Randwick today.
Luvaluva was lumped with 60kg but she was too classy for the rest of the fillies in the field who only had to carry 53kg and will now go into the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick next Saturday as one of the favourites.
The Chris Waller trained filly Unforgotten sits at the top of the Australian Oaks market order at $3.70 with Luvaluva now promoted to be the $4.40 second favourite.
Kerrin McEvoy let Luvaluva settle into her stride in the middle of the field under her big weight and made sure she had a clear run to line when he eased her to the outside on the home turn.
Luvaluva ($5) kept winding up all the way down the straight and the John Sargent trained filly never shirked her task and was able to reach the finish line a nose ahead of Pretty To Sea ($14) who was sticking to the inside.
Chilly Cha Cha ($10) was trying hard at the finish to claim third prize while the $2.45 favourite Harmattan was just behind the placegetters in fourth spot.
Luvaluva scored in similar style two runs back in winning the Group 3 $200,000 Carlton Draught Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 16 but then her Australian Oaks preparation was interrupted when she had to be scratched from last week’s Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill because of a virus.
Sargent was confident that the filly had recovered for the setback and today’s win indicated that she will be a force to deal with in the Australian Oaks.
“I think we have a good one here,” Sargent said.
“I think he (Kerrin McEcoy) might have waited a bit longer but obviously he thought he had to get going with the big weight and she was there to be beaten up the straight, but no she went to the line strong.”
“We had a hiccup last week missing the Vinery but this will top her up. Get her to the beach tomorrow and top her off for Saturday for the Oaks.”