Returning to racing in typically scintillating form through the 2014 Spring Racing Carninal so far, owner Lib Petagna is confident classy mare Lucia Valentina is more than capable of securing a career-defining victory in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup 2014.
Finishing outside the places one just four occasions through her fourteen race career so far, Lucia Valentina began her racing tenure under the guidance of kiwi trainer Stephen Marsh before transferring to the care of Newcastle-based trainer Kris Lees at the beginning of the year.
Understandably thrilled with the recent form and classy displayed by the Savabeel mare in the lead up to the 2014 Melbourne Cup, capped by a credible third in the featured Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last time out, Petagna praised the long-term efforts of Lees in ensuring the four-year-old is in prime order lining up for the Race That Stops a Nation, and believes barrier 2 will figure as a prime starting point.
“It’s a great thrill, she only started racing just over 12 months ago so it’s amazing to be here and part of the action,” Petagna said after daughter Lucia draw barrier 2.
“He’s done an amazing job – we planned this campaign back in the autumn in Sydney and everything’s gone like clockwork, he’s done a fantastic job.”
Winning a minor over 1200m on debut last October, Lucia Valentina continued to impress under Marsh in winning the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) and finishing second to Rising Romance in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m).
Finishing a fighting third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) in what was her Australian racing debut on March 8th, the mare out of Staryn Glenn appeared outclassed when only managing 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), but responded in the best way possible when charging home to win the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 5th; returning to the paddock after running third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
Displaying an exceptional turn of foot to win the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up this time, Lucia Valentina ran sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) ion September 20th and won a second Group 1 crown when taking out the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4th, in what was her only other start prior to the Caulfield Cup.