Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina will now race on into the Spring with the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley firmly on the agenda.
Lucia Valentina claimed her third Group 1 win when she demoralised the field in ‘The Championships’ flagship race, the $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Her other Group 1 wins were in the 2014 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill as a three year old during the Autumn and then followed that up with win in the Spring in the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Champion Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver brought the Kris Lees trained mare from last on the home turn in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes to score a two and a quarter lengths win over The United States with Happy Clapper running a mighty race to finish third.
Lees said that the original plan was for Lucia Valentin to head to the breeding barn this Spring but the strength of her win forced a chance of mind from her owner, Lib Petagne, and the Savabeel mare will now race on for another season.
“They are going to race on for another season so I’m very grateful,” Lees told Sky Thoroughbred Weekly.
“She’s a valuable broodmare but you can’t put a price on winning big races and Lib and Bruce got a big kick out of yesterday(Saturday).
“There were some thoughts of going to Hong Kong but she will have a good break now and come back for the spring.”
Oliver rode Lucia Valentina absolutely cold in the $4m weight for age feature and was a clear last coming to home turn.
Then shortly after straightening, Oliver had to ease off heels which put Lucia Valentina off balance, but the mare was able to regain her composure and when Oliver finally got her into the clear, stormed down the middle of the track to score a decisive win.
When Lees saw her get checked at the top of the straight, he thought her chances her dashed, but within a few seconds he could see that the had the race in her keeping.
“I thought that was the end of her,” Lees said.
“Within 100 metres, I thought she had the race won.
“She really puts in when she gets the right type of conditions.”
Lucia Valentina’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes first prizemoney cheque of $2.4 million took her overall earnings to $4,197,303 for seven wins, one second and four thirds from twenty-seven starts.
In early 2016 Cox Plate markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, Lucia Valentina is marked at $26 with the Chris Waller trained Winx heading the betting at $3.30 ahead of last Saturday’s Group 1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes winner Azdadelia at $13.