Form analyst Adam Blencowe has Lucia Valentina on top of his 2014 Caulfield Cup tips and he believes that the talented mare is a deserving favourite for the Group 1 event that will be held at Caulfield on Saturday.
Blencowe highlighted Bande as a leading Caulfield Cup contender before he even made the trip to Australia and rated the Japanese stayer a genuine winning chance, but was forced to reassess the market following the scratching of Bande this morning due to a tendon issue.
The withdrawal of Bande leaves that the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) as the key 2014 Caulfield Cup form guide and Blencowe told RSN this morning that Lucia Valentina looks to have the most improvement in front of her coming out of that race.
“Before he came out we were pretty confident that of the internationally-trained runners that Bande was the most likely winner, but he obviously isn’t there anymore,” Blencowe said.
“That leaves our numbers steering towards the Turnbull and the first three in the Turnbull, who had a pretty good gap back to fourth.
“Lucia Valentina is the only one in the race with a p remaining next to her figure and we probably think that she is the one most likely, but so does the market and there is no great spoil at the price at this stage.
“We think that she is probably open to more improvement than those two (Lidari and Brambles) and deserves her place at the top of the market.”
While Blencowe rates Lucia Valentina as the most likely winner in the Caulfield Cup, he believes that Turnbull Stakes runner-up Lidari and stablemate Brambles are the best value runners in the Group 1 event.
Brambles and Lidari have both been heavily backed since it became clear they were going to earn a start in the Caulfield Cup, but Blencowe said that he would still be happy to back the Peter Moody-trained duo each-way.
“The way the market is I would probably rather be backing Lidari and Brambles each-way to turn-the-tables and they have that slight weight swing,” Blencowe said.
“I think that they are where I would be steering from a betting angle.
“I would probably be backing Lidari and Brambles to beat Lucia Valentina, but at the same time she is the most likely winner and I have her about $4.”
Lucia Valentina is currently available at Caulfield Cup odds of $3.80 and she is a clear favourite from Admire Rakti ($9.50), Lidari ($10) and Brambles ($10).