2015 Apollo Stakes for First-up Lucia Valentina

February 2nd, 2015

Securing several typically impressive results over her 2014 spring campaign, trainer Kris Lees is pleased with the continually building form to Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina, revealing the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 14th is likely to figure as her first point of call this year.

Lucia Valentina is set for a racing return in the 2015 Apollo Stakes. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Lucia Valentina is set for a racing return in the 2015 Apollo Stakes. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Securing an impressive race record of five wins and a further four minor places from her 14 competitive appearances on course so far, Lucia Valentina has not been seen on track since finishing 13th in the Melbourne Cup on November 4th, in what figured as her maiden tilt over two miles.

Clearly favouring races up to and including 2400m in distance, Lucia Valentina ran second in a strong Newcastle barrier trial on Monday morning and appears primed for another successful campaign through the 2015 Autumn Carnival.

Confirming the major Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships will figure as her major target this time in, Lees said he is confident the Savabeel mare will find the 2015 Apollo Stakes in competitive form.

“She hasn’t done a lot of work but she trialled well in a pretty slick trial against some genuine speedsters,” Lees told Racing Victoria.

“She was a little out of her comfort zone but she tracked into the trial nicely and wasn’t knocked around.”

A standout performer in her native New Zealand prior to her Australian transferral, Lucia Valentina began her career under the guidance of Stephen Marsh before arriving at Lees’ stables in early 2014; winning the 2013 edition of the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) and finishing second to Rising Romance in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) most notably.

Placing third in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) first-up on March 8th, Lucia Valentina appeared out of her depth when 12th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 22nd, but responded in the best way possible when taking out the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 5th; returning to the paddock following a credible third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 19th.

Charging home to win the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) upon returning in spring, the mare out of Staryn Glenn placed sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 20th before securing a second Group 1 victory in the Turnbull Stakes (200m) on October 4th; running on for third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in her only other start prior to the Race That Stops a Nation.

A final field and barrier draw for the 2015 Apollo Stakes is due to be completed and released by Wednesday, February 11th.

Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best odds on the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, for which Lucia Valentina is available at a generous quote of $13 for success.