The 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of Lucia Valentina have shortened following the scratching of second favourite Bande by Racing Victoria Stewards this morning.
Lucia Valentina was available at a quote of $4.60 this morning, while Bande had been backed into odds of $7, but the withdrawal of the Japanese stayer means that the Savabeel mare is now into $3.80 to record her second straight win at Group 1 level.
The four-year-old started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with an outstanding win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and returned to winning form, following a sixth place finish in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 20, with a strong victory in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Trainer Kris Lees told Racing Ahead this morning that Lucia Valentina has come out of the Turnbull Stakes in outstanding condition and he is confident that she will produce an even better performance in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) tomorrow.
“I think that she has come on and she probably needs to a little bit,” Lees said.
“She is really well in herself, she put on a little bit of weight off the back of that, but put in a couple of nice gallops.
“She looks well in condition and I think that she will improve again off the run.
“I can’t fault her and it is just whether she is good enough.”
Lucia Valentina will be stepping up to 2400 metres for the first time since she stormed home from the tail of the field to finish third behind Rising Romance in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) and gives every indication that she will run out the trip strongly.
Lees is hoping that jockey Kerrin McEvoy will be able to settle Lucia Valentina closer to the speed in the Caulfield Cup than Hugh Bowman did in the Australia Oaks, but admits that he is yet to fully discuss tactics with the in-form hoop.
“I would love to see her race midfield and that has been our intentions just about every time we have sent her out,”
“It hasn’t always worked out that way, but that would be our intentions again I would imagine.
“I haven’t really sat down with Kerrin yet, but hopefully she can put herself in that midfield position that would be ideal.”
Admire Rakti ($9.50) is now on the second line of Caulfield Cup betting markets from Lidari ($10), Brambles ($10) and Junoob ($12).