International rider Zac Purton has been booked to boost the chances of Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 $1m The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The Hong Kong based Purton has had plenty of Group 1 success over the famous Randwick Mile with wins in the 2008 Epsom on the Gai Waterhouse trained Theseo as well as two wins on the Chris Waller trained Sacred Falls in the 2014 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile and the 2014 $350,000 George Main Stakes.
Lucia Valentina hasn’t been to the winner’s stall since taking out the 2014 Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Spring Carnival but Lees has been happy with her two runs back this Spring Campaign.
“I think she is going as well as ever, I’ve been really happy with both her runs this spring,’’ Lees told The Daily Telegraph.
“We managed to secure Zac for the ride which is great because he is one of the world’s best jockeys and will suit the mare.’’
Lucia Valentina resumed from a break to finish sixth, making up plenty of ground from the back, in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 5 and was again doing her best work at the finish when fourth behind Kermadec, Royal Descent and Pornichet in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 19.
Purton considers Lucia Valentina to be one of the top chances in the Star Epsom and is hoping she can add another Group 1 Randwick Mile to his long list of feature race wins.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Sydney to ride Lucia Valentina,’’ Purton said.
“She is a top class mare and one of the chances in the Epsom.’’
The Chris Waller trained Winx heads the market order for the Epsom at $3.60 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Lucia Valentina who is on the second line of betting at $9.
Waller has a great chance to win his third Epsom in succession with Silverball ($11) and Sadler’s Lake ($13) also high up in the market order.