Lucia Valentina is the 2014 Australian Oaks tips of leading form analyst Dominic Beirne and he rates the talented filly as his best bet of the day at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Lucia Valentina joined the stable of Kris Lees at the end of her summer campaign in New Zealand and made her Australian racing debut with a third place finish in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 before finishing 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22 and stamping herself as a clear Australian Oaks favourite with an impressive win in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at the same venue on April 5.
Beirne told RSN that he believes Lees has given Lucia Valentina an ideal preparation for the Australian Oaks and believes that she should be an odds-on favourite in the Group 1 event on Saturday.
“Lucia has taken a different path to the other New Zealanders and I think it is going to win her the race,” Beirne said.
“The other New Zealand fillies continued on from New Year’s Day and they have been boxing along all the way, while Kris Lees has taken a really wise course with Lucia.
“Like Criterion, we do have the question mark over how much she was advantaged by coming up the inside, but if you take Solicit out the margin from first to third was sixth lengths and that is a lot that these horses have got to make up.
“I think that she is the best bet of the day.”
Beirne said that Zanbagh deserves to be on the second line of 2014 Australian Oaks betting markets, but rates Sam Kavanagh-trained Interspersed as the best each-way bet in the $1 million race after she had little luck before running on strongly in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
“Interspersed is the filly that has the really fast sectional,” Beirne said.
“Interspersed was taken away from the outside the other day and ran straight into a traffic jam.
“At the furlong Interspersed was running 15th and ending up running eighth.
“With a decent run here, she is a pretty good place bet.”
Lucia Valentina is currently a clear favourite in 2014 Australian Oaks betting markets, a quote of $2.50, from Guy Walter-trained Zanbagh ($6), New Zealand Derby runner-up Rising Romance ($6.50) and consistent filly Suavito ($10).