Valentia produced his second impressive barrier trial performance in the space of a fortnight by taking out the fourth barrier trail over 850 metres at Royal Randwick this morning.
Group 1 winning sprinter Tiger Tees jumped from the gates well and went to the lead, but was challenged in the early stages of the trial by Valentia and pair drew away from the rest of the field.
Valentia was able to finish over the top of Tiger Tees in the final stages of the trial and was able to hold off a fast-finishing Bennetta and Pheidon to score a strong trial victory.
The Fastnet Rock colt has not been seen at the races since he finished 12th behind Mossfun in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5, but based on his performance in his two barrier trial starts to date, looks as though he could be a contender in the major three-year-old races during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Bennetta was settled in the middle of the field in the early stages of the barrier trial and was taken wide coming around the turn before making up plenty of ground late, despite being kept under a heavy hold.
The General Nediym mare failed to score a race win during her winter preparation, but produced strong performances in the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m), Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) and Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
Trainer Graeme Begg is hoping that his star galloper can return to wining form during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and is eyeing both the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 13 and the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at the same venue a fortnight later with the classy mare.
Pheidon has not been seen at the races since he finished sixth in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10 and made up good ground late in his first barrier trial of his spring preparation.
The Al Maher gelding scored his maiden win at Group level when he took out the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 14 during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing, but was unable to score another race win and it is not yet known what races trainer Waterhouse will target with the four-year-old.
Valentia is currently available at $34 in the 2014 Golden Rose betting market at Ladbrokes Australia.