Oct 17, 2016
NEWCASTLE: Monday, October 17, 2016: LUCIA Valentina will skip tomorrow’s busy “Breakfast With The Stars” session at Moonee Valley, and instead gallop in quieter surrounds at Sandown.
Kris Lees flew to Melbourne this morning, and decided his $3m Cox Plate hope did not need to have another workout on the tight track before Saturday’s Group 1 feature.
“Both Kerrin McEvoy (Lucia Valentina’s Cox Plate rider) and myself were very happy with how the mare handled the Valley last Thursday morning,” Lees said this evening.
“It will be a very hectic morning there with a big crowd in attendance, and I prefer to keep her away.
“Instead, I’ll take her to Sandown, where it will obviously be much quieter and she can work on her own.”
Lees is delighted with Lucia Valentina’s progress as she bids to add a fourth Group 1 to her outstanding career record.
He will deputise for New Zealand owner Lib Petagna when the barrier draw is conducted for the Plate at a special function at the Valley after trackwork in the morning.
“This is different where you get to select your own barrier once your saddlecloth number is drawn,” Lees said.
“But it really won’t matter where she starts from, because she will be in the back half of the field when they settle down.”
Rosa Carolina, also raced by Petagna, will contest Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Crockett Stakes (1200m) against other three-year-old fillies – provided she secures a berth in the field.
Because of her lower benchmark rating, Rosa Carolina is currently 19th in ballot order (14 horses can start, with provision for four emergencies). Hugh Bowman will ride her if she clinches a start.
Bowman also partners talented mare Felines, who has 60kg topweight for the $100,000 City Jeep Handicap (955m).
Epsom Handicap fifth Le Romain was given 58.5kg in Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile, but won’t line up.
He will be reserved for Saturday week’s $1m Longines Mile (with Bowman his rider) on the opening of the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.
Lees had planned to trial this year’s Randwick Guineas winner over 1190m at Cranbourne today, but pulled the pin.
“He was drawn in Heat 21 of 23 trials, and it was a heavy track,” he explained.
“Le Romain also will go to Sandown in the morning and gallop with Happy Trails (likely to line up for a fifth Cox Plate start on Saturday).”