The 2014 Australian Oaks odds of Lucia Valentina have shortened in the past 24 hours and the Vinery Stud Stakes winner is set to start the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday as a dominant favourite.
Lucia Valentina stamped herself as a clear favorite for the Australian Oaks with an impressive win from the tail of the field in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 and the daughter of Savabeel is now available at Australian Oaks odds of $2.40 after drawing favorably in barrier two.
Trainer Kris Lees told Racing Ahead this morning that Lucia Valentina had come out of her Vinery Stud Stakes win in excellent condition and is confident that she will head into the Australian Oaks in peak condition after performing well in her three lead-up runs.
“She is really well,” Lees said.
“She is nice and bright and has maintained her weight; she put on weight in the lead-up to that race and has maintained it since.
“She ran a nice piece of work yesterday without doing too much, she is nice and fit and I’m just trying to keep her happy now and get her to the races in one piece.”
Lucia Valentina was settled at the tail of the field by jockey Hugh Bowman in the Vinery Stud Stakes and Lees expects the leading Sydney jockey to position the talented filly towards the rear of the field again on Saturday.
Bowman has scored two wins in staying events in the past two weeks, winning the Vinery Stud Stakes with Lucia Valentina and the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) with Criterion, and Lees is hoping the in-form hoop can continue his hot form this weekend.
“She will get back, but it gives Hughie options and he can hold her spot from there,” Lees said.
“I won’t be giving him too many instructions.
“He is in rare form and I hope that he can keep going.
“The way that she ran through the line after making a sustained run from the 700 in the Vinery, I have no problems with her running the 2400.”
Lucia Valentina has the opportunity to become the seventh horse in the past thirty years to win both the Vinery Stud Stakes and Australian Oaks in the same year; joining Sheraco (1982), Research (1989), Alcove (1994), Danendri (1997), Serenade Rose (2006) and Heavenly Glow (2008).
Guy Walter-trained Zanbagh is currently on the second line of betting at Australian Oaks odds of $6 followed behind New Zealand Derby runner-up Rising Romance ($6.50) and the consistent Suavito ($10).