The race didn’t go to plan and Hugh Bowman was forced onto the worst part of the track, but it didn’t stop Lucia Valentina in Saturday’s Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill.
Bowman had been instructed to find a midfield position, but he reverted to Plan B and rode for luck after the filly missed the start.
He settled Lucia Valentina second last in the big field of 16 and with most jockeys steering a wide course in the wet conditions, Bowman had little option but to improve along the rails.
However, the Kris Lees-trained filly was up to the task, chasing down leader Solicit to claim the traditional ATC Oaks lead-up by a length over the Victorian.
“I was a little concerned in the run when she was back last,” Lees said.
“We had a plan to try to be midfield in the run. She was a little tardy away and then the pace slackened.
“Hugh had no other option than to go into the worse going up the fence and she was strong at the finish like we expected her to be.
“She’s a genuine stayer and she’ll improve again off that.”
Lucia Valentina ($9.50) scored by a length over Solicit ($6.50), with the pair streeting the rest of the field by five lengths.
She is the new Oaks favourite at $2.80, usurping Zanbagh, which has drifted to $6 after her Vinery fifth.
Bowman said his mount did a superb job to win after sustaining a long run.
“She had 12 to 14 lengths to make up. She was entitled to hit the wall, but was strong through the line,” he said.
Trainer Mathew Ellerton had mixed emotions over Solicit’s brave second and said the Victorian filly was still learning.
“It’s her first go this way and she’s a big baby,” Ellerton said.
“If we can keep her in one piece we will go to the Oaks and be confident she can turn the tables.”