Wyong Trial for Lucia Valentina

Racing & Sports write: Classy mare Lucia Valentina’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes mission is up and running with the Newcastle-trained mare to contest a barrier trial at Wyong next Wednesday.

Trainer Kris Lees is delighted with Lucia Valentina’s progress since returning from a break after her Hong Kong sojourn.

“She has been back in the stables for a few weeks now, and is coming along nicely,” Lees said.

“Obviously, she has residual fitness on her side, having had only a short break since coming home from Hong Kong.”

Lucia Valentina ran a splendid fifth – making up considerable ground – behind Japanese record-breaker A Shin Hakari in the G1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at the International meeting at Sha Tin on December 13.

She then spent a fortnight in quarantine in Hong Kong and another fortnight at the Werribee Quarantine Centre after returning to Australia.

She then went to Lees Racing’s Ellalong Farm in the Hunter Valley where she exercised on the water walker before returning to Broadmeadow last month.

Lucia Valentina (NZ) at Sha Tin in December, picture Liesl King

Lees is keen to give Lucia Valentina another shot at The Championships’ headline act – the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9.

She made a wide run from back at the 800m and kept coming to the line when sixth to Criterion in last year’s race.

At this stage, she is likely to have one lead-up in the $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 19 but Lees also has nominated Lucia Valentina for the $3 million Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 2 as a precautionary measure.

“After next week’s Wyong trial I will probably look to give her an exhibition gallop leading into the George Ryder,” Lees said.

Lees has also nominated the Australian Bloodstock-owned imports Goldstream, Magic Artist, Singing and Terrubi for major client Australian Bloodstock for the Queen Elizabeth.

“They are at various stages of their respective campaigns,” Lees said. “It’s too early yet to say whether any of them will run in the Queen Elizabeth, but hopefully at least one of them will get there.”

Italian Derby winner Goldstream won his first five starts before he was switched to Protectionist’s German trainer Andreas Wohler.

He ran fourth to Highland Reel – the subsequent Cox Plate placegetter and Hong Kong Vase winner at Sha Tin in December – in the Secretariat Stakes (2012m) at Arlington in Chicago last August when ridden by Brenton Avdulla.

Goldstream then finished fifth to Prince Gibraltar in a G1 event over 2412m at Baden Baden in Germany in September before coming to Australia.

Talented stayers Singing and Terrubi – both six-year-olds – have been off the scene for some time.

Singing has started only once since June of 2014 when fifth in a G1 2400m event at Hoppegarten in Germany last August.

Terrubi won the G2 Prix Maurice De Nieuil (2800m) at Longchamps in 2014. He has raced only one since at Baden Baden in September of that year.

Magic Artist ran brilliantly at Flemington last spring, finishing fourth in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on October 31 and fourth in the G1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) a week later.

He was then sent to Perth but failed to handle a heavy track when 13th in the G1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 5.

Lees has nominated Goldstream, Magic Artist and Singing along with Bachelor Heir, Le Romain Horseform, River Lad and Lucia Valentina for the Doncaster Mile.

Singing and Terrubi along with Award Season, Rio Perdido, and Glorious Sinndar are the Lees entries for the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 9.

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