Jockey Tommy Berry is confident that talented colt Valentia will be tough to beat in the 2014 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Valentia made his racing debut with a third place finish behind Rubick in the TAB IPhone App Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick on January 25 and scored his maiden race win in the Ritz Cinema Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on February 22, despite hitting the inside rail at the 600 metre mark.
Berry told Racing Ahead this morning that he has been delighted with the improvement that the two-year-old has made and is expecting him to produce another strong performance in the Skyline Stakes this weekend.
“He is a lovely Fastnet Rock colt and he has come a long way in a short amount of time,” Berry said.
“His first-up run we were a little bit disappointed with, but then again you did have Rubick going at quiet a pace in front and that took him out of his comfort zone.
“Last start they went a lot slower and it enabled him to travel in the race.
“I really like the way he knuckled down late and I think that he has taken great improvement out of that run.
“I think that he will run a very bullish race on Saturday and be very hard to beat.”
Valentia will jump from barrier five in the Skyline Stakes and is expected to take a position just off the speed; with Team Hawkes-trained Gold Force and debut winner Time For War the likely leaders.
Berry said that he is happy to have drawn barrier five with Valentia and believes that son of Fastnet Rock will have the opportunity to settle, which will help him avoid the problems he has had in his two career starts to date.
“He jumped very quick the other day, but sometimes he can be a bit sluggish out,” Berry said.
“It just gives him a little bit of time to wind up and get into his position, without being bustled too much.
“He has improved a lot and he is definitely up there with our best two-year-olds.”
Valentia ($4.20) is currently on the third line of 2014 Skyline Stakes betting markets, behind stablemate Giuliani ($2.60) and market mover Gold Force ($3.80).