Lucia Valentina claims Matriarch Stakes

AAP’s Craig Brennan writes: Lucia Valentina has broken through for her first win in 13 months, claiming the Matriarch Stakes at Flemington.

The Kris Lees-trained mare carried top weight and overcame a wide barrier to claim the 2000m-Group Two race on Saturday.

Lucia Valentina’s last victory came in the 2014 Group One Turnbull Stakes over the same course and distance.

Following that success Lucia Valentina was one of the top choices for the Caulfield Cup in which she was third.

She then failed to stay the 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup when 13th behind future stablemate Protectionist.

Lucia Valentina finished ninth to Mongolian Khan in this year’s Caulfield Cup and Lees said the mare needed a drop in grade to regain her confidence.

With Damien Oliver in the saddle, Lucia Valentina ($3.60 fav) came widest in the straight to score by a length from Manageress ($10) with Casino Dancer ($16) a half-length away third.

The victory was Oliver’s third for the day after earlier wins aboard Divan and Rhythm To Spare.

Now that Lucia Valentina has regained form, Lees is hoping to gain an invitation for the mare to run in the 2000m Hong Kong Cup next month.

“If she pulled up well I’d be keen to go,” Lees said.

“I think she can be competitive in any 2000 metre race when she’s in form.”

Lees said if Lucia Valentina didn’t go to Hong Kong she would be spelled and brought back for an autumn campaign in Sydney and Brisbane before retirement.
© Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) 2015

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