Lucia Valentina will make her Melbourne racing debut in the 2014 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and trainer Kris Lees believes that the Group 1 event is a nice race for the talented mare.
Lucia Valentina will carry just 53.5 kilograms under the set weights plus penalties conditions of the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and while Lees believes that there is still improvement ahead of the Savabeel mare, he is of the opinion that the four-year-old is capable of recording her second win at Group 1 level this weekend.
“I do think that there is more to come, but it does look a nice race for her,” Lees told Racing Ahead.
“She performed very well third run in last preparation in the Vinery Stakes and she is a mare that comes to hand pretty well quickly.
“She is about the same weight now as she raced in the AJC Oaks and she doesn’t carry any excess.”
Lucia Valentina started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an outstanding performance in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and she was far from disgraced when sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on September 20.
Lees said that the George Main Stakes was not run to suit Lucia Valentina, but he is confident that she is on track for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18, which is set to be her major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target.
“We were very pleased with the run,” Lees said.
“On paper there didn’t appear to be a great deal of pace and that is how it panned out.
“Her closing sectionals were quiet good and she appears on track.
“She has come through it really well and it wasn’t too taxing on her.
“She floated down to Melbourne on Saturday and arrived in good order on Sunday.
“She had a look around the Caulfield course proper this morning and she appears in good shape.
“I think the Caulfield Cup and with that type of weight I think that it is the more attractive option at this stage.”
Lucia Valentina is currently available at 2014 Turnbull Stakes odds of $5 and is a narrow favourite in betting for the Group 1 event from Sacred Falls ($6.50), Happy Trails ($7.50), Puissance De Lune ($7.50) and Silent Achiever ($7.50).