Trainer Kris Lees has confirmed that Lucia Valentina will press on to the 2014 Melbourne Cup after her fast-finishing third in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
Lucia Valentina went into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as a clear favourite, but she did not have a great deal of luck in running and was caught wide at the tail of the field in the early stages of the race.
The Savabeel mare was still able to work home strongly to finish within a length of the winner Admire Rakti and runner-up Rising Romance in the Caulfield Cup and Lees told RSN yesterday that he believes that his star galloper could have finished ever closer with a bit of luck in running.
“We were very proud of her run,” Lees said.
“Full credit to the winner, but if the circumstances were a little different maybe the result could have been different.
“As it can happen in the Caulfield Cup, it was very messy at the first corner and we were further back than we anticipated and she was going to be four deep, so Kerrin (McEvoy) had to come back even further.
“She got into a nice enough rhythm and coming to the 600 she got on the back of the winner and Kerrin said that if he had his time over may have not got to his outside and waited a little bit longer.
“I’m not going to be bashing up Kerrin about it.”
While Lees was happy with the performance of Lucia Valentina in the Caulfield Cup, he was just as happy with the way that she has come through the tough race and at this stage has no hesitations running the four-year-old in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 4.
Lees said that Lucia Valentina will not have another lead-up run before the Melbourne Cup and he feels more confident than ever that the Caulfield Cup placegetter will be able to run out a strong 3200 metres in ‘the race that stops nation’.
“She is really good,” Lees said.
“She is a really tough filly; she all but ate up, she drank a lot of water and she was bright having a walk this morning.
“I am very happy with how she has come through it.
“At this stage I am pretty sure that she will (run in the Melbourne Cup).
“It is day by day with these horses, but at the moment the way that she has come through the run and the way that she finished off the mile and half, I am probably more confident now about her running two mile than I was last week.
“I am pretty happy with where she is at.”
Lucia Valentina is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $7 and she is on the third line of betting behind Admire Rakti ($4.60) and Protectionist ($6.50).