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Lucia Valentina steps up in Turnbull as Caulfield Cup history is on her side

Lucia Valentina winning the Vinery Stud Stakes third-up as she tries to replicate that effort in the Turnbull Stakes

Four-year-old Kiwi mare Lucia Valentina is stepping up into the big league as she contests the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.

The Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina is set to contest a capacity field of 16 runners in the lead-up to her spring target in the form of the $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.

Lees admitted he will know a bit more about his Group 1-winner following Saturday’s run as the four-year-old has been allocated a light weight of 51kg for the Caulfield Cup.

“Saturday will answer a few questions. It’s a high quality race with plenty of depth,” Lees told News Corp.

“That’s the race we have in mind. It looks like a good year to be in the Caulfield Cup and she’s also well in on the weights.”

History is on the side of Lucia Valentina as four-year-olds have won the Caulfield Cup more than any other age with mares having won the race on 21 occasions with Southern Speed the most recent mare to do so when taking out the race in 2011.

Since 1999, a total of 9 four-year-olds have won the race as Lucia Valentina will be looking at continuing that trend whilst ideally joining an exclusive club of 11 horses who have won the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup in the same year. Ethereal (2001), Might and Power (1997), Doriemus (1995) and Let’s Elope (1991) are the most recent winners to do the Cups double.

Lucia Valentina enters the Turnbull third-up from a spell having won in emphatic style first-up when she claimed the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 6 before finishing sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 20.

The daughter of Savabeel won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) third-up last campaign before an excellent third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) as Lees has replicated the distance range for her third-up (Turnbull) and fourth-up (Caulfield Cup) runs this preparation with a potential fifth-up run in the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) where she will carry 53kg.

“If she runs well it will be full steam ahead to the Caulfield Cup and that will answer the question whether she’s ready for the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup,” Lees said.

Lucia Valentina has drawn barrier five for the Turnbull Stakes as Kerrin McEvoy takes the ride once again with the mare carrying 53.5kg in the Set Weights plus Penalties feature.

Defending champion Happy Trails has drawn the inside barrier as he heads towards the Cox Plate while Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer has drawn barrier 15. 

At this stage, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Crackerjack King is the only scratching which gives his stablemate Stipulate a start in the event as he tries to earn himself a Caulfield Cup start.  


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2014 Turnbull Stakes

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Lucia Valentina steps up in Turnbull as Caulfield Cup history is on her side

Four-year-old Kiwi mare Lucia Valentina is stepping up into the big league as she contests the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.

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