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Missing the Vinery Stud Stakes will be no issue for Luvaluva

Trainer John Sargent has downplayed the significance of an enforced change to Luvaluva’s assault on the Group One Australian Oaks.

The one-time favourite for Saturday week’s $1 million 2400m-staying test, Luvaluva has drifted after being scratched from the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill because of an elevated white cell count.

She will now use the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday as her final lead-up for the 2018 Australian Oaks a week later.

Confident Luvaluva will receive the necessary medical clearance when she gallops with Kerrin McEvoy aboard on Tuesday, Sargent said he was not concerned with the short turnaround.

In the spring Luvaluva won the Group Two Wakeful Stakes five days before her fourth in the VRC Oaks (2500m).

“The Vinery did space her nicely but you back up in Melbourne in the spring so I don’t think there’s any issue,” Sargent said.

“This is just a hiccup along the way. It’s not major. She’ll race then we’ll tick her over.”

Sargent said Luvaluva had not missed any work since she was withdrawn from the Vinery Stud Stakes last Thursday.

The one-time favourite for the Australian Oaks, Luvaluva has drifted to $11 with Unforgotten the $3.50 favourite.

Luvaluva resumed in the Group Two Hobartville Stakes (1400m) before claiming the Group Three Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) on March 16.

Winning at Kembla Grange reaffirmed Sargent’s belief Luvaluva was on track to emulate Gust Of Wind.

The Sargent-trained Gust Of Wind was the last horse to beat Winx in the 2015 Australian Oaks in which stablemate Thunder Lady was fifth.

“She’s probably got a bit more scope than them,” Sargent said.

“She’ll be right up there with them or above in the spring by the way she’s come up this autumn.”

Luvaluva was the $3.50 Adrian Knox favourite in the TAB’s opening market ahead of New Zealand Oaks winner Savvy Coup at $4.

 
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