As he prepares to chase the most important win of his training career, Kris Lees is confident Lucia Valentina is going as well as she can go leading into a Group One race.
Lucia Valentina has tightened her grip on favouritism after second favourite Bande was scratched because of a tendon problem on Friday morning.
Lees has experienced Group One successes and had the favourite in one of Australia’s major races when Samantha Miss ran third in the 2008 Cox Plate.
But Lucia Valentina presents him with an undeniable chance for his biggest win in racing.
“Samantha Miss started favourite in the Cox Plate and being a three-year-old filly I’ve got to say I was probably a bit more apprehensive about that than this week,” Lees said.
“You’ve got to treat every race the same but there’s no doubt you do get the nerves fluttering a bit in a big race like this.”
Lees said Lucia Valentina has had an uninterrupted run since her Turnbull Stakes victory, having overcome hoof bruising in the week leading into that Group One race to win.
“I’ve got no doubt she has come on really well off the back of the Turnbull run,” Lees said.
“Whether that’s enough to win the race, I don’t know, but I’m sure she’s progressed off the back of it.”
Lucia Valentina has only raced once at 2400m, finishing third to Caulfield Cup rival Rising Romance in the Australian Oaks in April.
“It’s hard to say whether an Oaks is the right yardstick, but I thought she had a pretty tough run that day and was still strong at the end of it,” Lees said.
Lucia Valentina will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy who won the Caulfield Cup on All The Good in 2008.