Lucia Valentina is available at double figure Tramway Stakes odds, but trainer Kris Lees believes that the talented mare is a place chance in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Lucia Valentina has not been seen at the races since she finished a luckless third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but she has produced two strong efforts in barrier trials in Newcastle ahead of the start of her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Lees told Racing Ahead that Lucia Valentina he has been impressed with the Savabeel mare in the lead-up to the Tramway Stakes and he is confident that she can produce a good performance first-up this weekend.
“It is interesting to see how these fillies measure up now stepping up to open company,” Lees said.
“She has pleased and gives me every indication that she has come back as good if not better, but you don’t know until you test them at this level.
“I would like to see her settle a little closer than she did last preparation, but we will just see where she settles in the run.
“She is a genuine place chance and I think that she can run a real race.”
Lees revealed last month that the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) was the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Lucia Valentina and he confirmed that the $3 million race was still the goal for the four-year-old, but he will see how she performs in races like the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick in a fortnight before he makes an ultimate decision on the spring path for the four-year-old.
“More than likely we will go to the George Main in two weeks,” Lees said.
“If we are going good enough we will head down for the Turnbull Stakes otherwise we will stay at home for the Craven Plate.
“I am hopeful that she can run 2400 again in open company.
“I suppose these first couple of runs will confirm that, but we are hopeful that she can measure up in a race like the Caulfield Cup.”
Lucia Valentina is currently available at Tramway Stakes odds of $14, with Weary ($3.60) still a clear favourite from Tiger Tees ($5).
Lees is having his first runner in the Tramway Stakes since Britt’s Best finished second behind Sportsman in the 2003 edition of the race.