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Melbourne Cup plans remain in place for beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina.

The Kris Lees-trained mare, well-backed to start the $4 popular elect, was a fast-finishing third behind Admire Rakti and Rising Romance on Saturday. She was beaten less than a length.

Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, Lucia Valentina had the fastest closing 600-metre sectional in the race.

Lucia Valentina had a mid-position draw but was caught wide in the early stages before drifting back to be in the last third of the field.

She was still with the backmarkers approaching the turn and was 14th and deep on straightening for the run home.

“She went quicker and quicker in the last three furlongs,” Lees said.

“She was three deep and forced wider on the turn.

“It’s hard not to press on to the Melbourne Cup.”

Lees said that while he was proud of Lucia Valentina’s performance he believes it is a Group One race that has got away.

He said that while his mare was out the back and covering ground, Rising Romance, who had relegated her into third place in the ATC Australian Oaks at Randwick in April, had got all the breaks.

Lees said if Lucia Valentina contests the Melbourne Cup she wouldn’t run again before the $6 million race on November 4.

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