Trainer Kris Lees believes that classy filly Lucia Valentina is on track to return to the races in just under a month after she was impressed in a barrier trial at Newcastle this morning.
Lucia Valentina contested the opening trial over 900 metres and was given a very quiet trial; with jockey Andrew Gibbons giving the Group 1 winner under a heavy hold throughout the trial.
Accomp’ny Me and Ying La cleared out from the rest of the field and Lucia Valentina worked home well to finish five lengths behind the trial winner in fifth position.
Lees told TVN that he was happy with the performance of Lucia Valentina and confirmed that she would be given another trial before she begins her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in either the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) or Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m) at Royal Randwick on August 23.
“She trialed well along with Hathras and they were probably beaten about five lengths,” Lees said.
“They were both on the bridle and did it well.
“She’ll have another r trial in two weeks.
“She’s still a month away from the races so we’re on target.”
Lucia Valentina made her racing debut in New Zealand at the end of 201 under the care of Stephen Marsh and took out the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) at just her second start before she finished second behind subsequent Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance in the Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on January 1.
The Savabeel filly made her Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8, but was never able to get into the race when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m).
Lucia Valentina made her Group 1 debut in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 and she stormed home late to score an impressive victory before finishing third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick a fortnight later.
The rising four-year-old is set to run in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 and Lees will then decide whether she is set for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 or the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Lucia Valentina is currently available at 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of $15 and is at a quote of $21 in the 2014 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.