New Zealand-bred Lucia Valentina has been one of the best backed runners in 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes betting markets and trainer Kris Lees has been happy with her progress leading up the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Lucia Valentina made her Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 and was not disgraced when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22.
Lees told Racing Ahead this morning that he was happy with the way that Lucia Valentina worked home in the Coolmore Classic and said that the Savabeel filly had taken plenty of benefit out of the run ahead of the 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes this weekend.
“She has come on really well off the back of that,” Lees said.
“Her best part was on and after the line, which is generally a good sign for a stayer going forward and she has pleased at home since then.
“She has maybe even put on a little bit of weight, which is a good sign for mine because she is not a really big filly.
“She is going to be suited at the 2000 metres, but it looks a very competitive race.”
Lucia Valentina has been settled towards the tail of the field in both of her starts in Australia, but Lees believes that the three-year-old may have the tactical speed to race a little bit further forward in her races.
The Newcastle-based trainer said that he will be leaving the riding instructions up to jockey Hugh Bowman, but revealed that he would be happy to see the classy filly in the middle of the 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes field.
“She couldn’t have raced a little handier first-up, but we were pretty adamant that we wanted her to settle towards the back of the field,” Lees said.
“In the Coolmore she couldn’t have been too much closer.
“I will leave it to Hugh; I would love her to be midfield, but I wouldn’t want to be bustling too much to be there.
“If it means she is going to be in the second half of the field so be it, but I do think that she will finish the race off strong.”
Solicit ($5) and Rising Romance ($5) are currently equal favourites in 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes betting markets; with Lucia Valentina currently available at a quote of $7.50 after being available at longer odds earlier in the week.