Oct 24, 2016
NEWCASTLE: Monday, October 24, 2016: LUCIA Valentina will be given another opportunity for more Melbourne spring glory on the final of the four-day Flemington carnival.
Kris Lees this morning confirmed Lucia Valentina will line up in Saturday week’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) – carrying a $2m purse for the first time – irrespective of whether Winx is an opponent.
The mare has pulled up well from her seventh to Winx in last Saturday’s $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
“Lucia Valentina was never comfortable; she didn’t get into the race at any stage,” Lees said.
“Obviously, we were disappointed, but from where she was in the run, her closing sectionals were okay.
“We know the bigger tracks such as Randwick and Flemington suit her.”
Lucia Valentina has scored over the Emirates 2000m course at the last two Melbourne Cup carnivals.
She won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes in 2014 against all-comers and last year was successful in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes against her own sex.
An Emirates rider for Lucia Valentina is yet to be confirmed, though her Cox Plate partner Kerrin McEvoy will be offered the mount.
Lees, however, feels he may prefer to ride The United States, on whom he won last Saturday’s Group 2 Crystal Mile at the Valley.
He also was aboard The United States when he was runner-up to Lucia Valentina (Damien Oliver) in the $4m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick in April.
The Emirates was formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes, and has been transferred from the first day of the Flemington carnival to the fourth and final day.
Lees will have two definite Group 1 starters on Saturday’s opening program; Le Romain and Danish Twist.
Winx’s rider Hugh Bowman partners Epsom Handicap fifth Le Romain in the $1m Cantala Stakes (1600m), and Hong Kong-based Joao Moreira has been booked for Danish Twist in the $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) against her own sex.
Le Romain has been given 55.5kg for the Cantala. French horse Vadamos, fourth in last Saturday’s Cox Plate, is topweight with 58.5kg.
Lees has also nominated a number of mares for Saturday’s $200,000 Group 3 Sensis Stakes (1100m), but is yet to make a final decision on whether any will run.