Jan 14, 2016
NEWCASTLE: Thursday, January 14, 2016:
Lucia Valentina is finally home after her Hong Kong sojourn, and is enjoying a brief break at Lees Racing’s Ellalong Farm in the Hunter Valley.
But it’s not all rest for the quality mare.
“Lucia Valentina arrived home from Werribee earlier in the week, and has gone to Ellalong for about 10 days before returning to Broadmeadow,” her trainer Kris Lees said today.
“She will do some exercise whilst there on the aquaciser(water walker).”
Lees was thrilled with Lucia Valentina’s fifth to record-breaking Japanese star A Shin Hakari in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 13, understandably rating it “one of her best career runs”.
She then spent two weeks in quarantine there before being flown back to Melbourne and spending a further fortnight at the Werribee Quarantine Centre.
“I’m very proud of the way she handled the entire assignment and, of course, how well she ran,” Lees said.
In view of her Hong Kong performance, Lees is keen to give Lucia Valentina another shot at the $4m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 9during The Championships.
She is likely to contest the $1m Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 19 (Golden Slipper day) en route to the Queen Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, Lees has welcomed back his talented young sprinter Gold Seventy Seven after 12 months on the sidelines.
The now four-year-old hasn’t raced since making the step up to Saturday metropolitan company by scoring at Rosehill in early January last year to make it three wins from as many starts.
Unfortunately, after a short break, he damaged his near fore tendon when back in work at Broadmeadow being prepared for the 2015 Sydney autumn carnival and underwent stem cell treatment.
“We’ve kept a close watch on him since the injury; he’s never really been out of our care,” Lees said.
“We brought him back to Broadmeadow just before Christmas, and so far everything is good.”
Lees is hoping Gold Seventy Seven will earn a start in the $400,000 The Championships Provincial Final (1400m) at Randwick on the same day the Queen Elizabeth Stakes is run.
Fitocracy has been retired to stud following her failure in last Friday’s Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at last Friday’s Gosford Cup meeting.
The four-year-old Denman mare won two of her 16 starts, including the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville last April.
Me No Marsh Potato, beaten at Canterbury yesterday when a well-backed favorite, has been sent to Ellalong Farm for a “refresher”.
The five-year-old finished seventh to Spiritos in a Benchmark 67 Handicap (1550m) following impressive wins at TAB meetings at Tuncurry and Scone.
“She pulled up a little distressed from the heat, and also may not have appreciated racing on the inside,” Lees said.
“I will give her a short freshen up at Ellalong and then bring her back to Broadmeadow and look for another race.”