Top fancy Lucia Valentina will wear blinkers for the first time when she lines up in the Group 1 $1m The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Lucia Valentina will be contesting the Randwick Mile again after running fourth to Kermadec in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes over 1600m at Randwick on September 19.
Trainer Kris Lees is looking to make his Group 1 winning mare more competitive with the blinkers over the shorter courses before he heads to Melbourne to prepare for the Group 1 $3m William Hill Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24
“She wore the blinkers in a track gallop and went brilliantly,’’ Lees told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’d say we will use them on her in the Epsom because she is staying at 1600m and it just might give her the edge she needs.’’
Lees has also booked ace Hong Kong rider Zac Purton to partner the Savabeel mare in the Star Epsom.
“We managed to secure Zac for the ride which is great because he is one of the world’s best jockeys and will suit the mare,” Lees said.
Lucia Valentina hit the headlines during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival with a win in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill followed by a third to Rising Romance in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
She also claimed victory in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival before running third to Admire Rakti in the Group 1 $3m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
Lees is happy with the way Lucia Valentina has progressed since her first up sixth to Hooked in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 5 and her fourth in the George Main Stakes.
“I think she is going as well as ever, I’ve been really happy with both her runs this spring,’’ Lees said.
The Chris Waller trained Winx heads the market order for the Epsom at $3.60 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Lucia Valentina who is on the second line of betting at $9.
Waller has a great chance to win his third Epsom in succession with Silverball ($11) and Sadler’s Lake ($13) also high up in the market order.