Damien Oliver will hand up the ride on Lucia Valentina to Kerrin McEvoy when the Group 1 winning mare resumes in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20.
Oliver rode the Kris Lees trained Lucia Valentina to a comfortable victory in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9, the second day of ‘The Championships’ during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
But the three time Melbourne Cup winning jockey has knocked back the ride to stay in Melbourne to partner last start winners Verstappen, Monkey Magic and Wild Rain at Moonee Valley on the same day.
Oliver was on board the Danny O’Brien trained Verstappen when he broke his maiden status over 1200m at Pakenham on August 5 with a four and a quarter length victory and will stick with him in the Listed $120,000 Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m).
While Monkey Magic, the winner of a 1000m Pakenham two year old fillies maiden on July 26 for Oliver will run in the $80,000 SUPER VOBIS Three Years Old Fillies Plate (1200m).
Oliver also looks set to stick with Wild Rain in the Listed $120,000 Carlyon Stakes (1000m) after steering the Mark Kavanagh trained mare to a convincing win in the Group 3 $150,000 Food Services Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 16.
Less is not perturbed that he has a change of jockey for Lucia Valentina in the Warwick Stakes and is happy to put McEvoy back on the Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.
McEvoy has had success on the Savabeel mare in the past and from five rides has visited the winner’s stall on two occasions with wins in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the 2014 Spring Carnival.
“Kerrin has got a good association with the mare and has ridden her plenty of times in the past so there is no issue at all,” Lees said.
While Lees’ first option is to take on the Chris Waller trained glamour mare Winx first up in the Warwick Stakes as her Spring Carnival springboard, he will also nominate her for the shorter 1200m Group 3 $125,000 Show County Quality on the same day as a backup.
“I say at this stage we are likely to run in the Warwick Stakes, I’ll also nominate for the Show County but would only go that way if the weather means we miss a gallop next Week.”
Lucia Valentina’s main 2016 Spring Carnival goal is the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
2015 Cox Plate winner Winx is a short priced favourite at $2.70 to defend her crown while Lucia Valentina is on the second line of betting at $15 with Ladbrokes.com.au.