New Ellerslie target for Lucia Valentina

Procurement’s impressive win at Te Rapa last Saturday has caused trainer Stephen Marsh to switch plans with Lucia Valentina, another of the stable’s exciting three-year-olds.

Procurement maintained an unbeaten record from two trials and two races when cruising home by two and a half lengths over 1400 metres in a Rating 65 Te Rapa event and will now step up to the Gr. 2 $100,000 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Stablemate Lucia Valentina, a stylish last-start winner of the Gr. 3 Ekraar @ Linwood Park Wellington Stakes at Otaki, was originally scheduled to also run in the Eight Carat Classic, but Marsh has switched the Sydney-bound filly to the Gr. 2 $100,000 Great Northern Guineas over the same trip on the same day.

“I didn’t want to clash the two fillies if I could help it,” said Marsh. “I talked it over with Bruce Perry (racing manager for Lucia Valentina’s owner, Lib Petagna) and he was happy with the change.

“Both races are the same stakemoney and the same status and as Lucia Valentina is going to Sydney (to trainer Chris Lees) after the Royal Stakes she isn’t chasing the Filly Of The Year series anyway so doesn’t need to run in the Eight Carat.

“She can race against the boys at Ellerslie then take on the fillies in the Royal Stakes on New Year’s Day. She’s already beaten the boys in the Wellington Stakes.”

Lucia Valentina has won two of her three starts and was an unlucky third to Chintz between times at Te Rapa.

“She’s thriving,” said Marsh. “She’ll have a nice gallop tomorrow and should be spot on for the Great Northern Guineas. Leith (Innes) will ride her again.”

Lucia Valentina was always destined to join the Lees stable and Marsh is thankful for being able to get a handful of races from her, topped already by a Group Three win.

Though losing Lucia Valentina after the Ellerslie Summer Carnival, Marsh is looking forward to a big season with stablemate Procurement.

“I’ll just see how she measures up in the Eight Carat before deciding where to go with her,” said Marsh. “She’s an exciting filly. She was super impressive at Te Rapa.

“She might have looked to have it easy in the running but she ran good sectionals. “She’s got a high cruising speed and when she kicked on the turn they were all pushed along to chase her.

“She ran 1:21 for the 1400 metres and did it so easily. It’s going to be interesting to see how she measures up in the Eight Carat.”

Meanwhile stablemate Barbaric is set to return to the Marsh stable this afternoon after some downtime since his impressive win in the Listed Chainey’s Panasonic Levin Stakes at Otaki last month.

“He’s had a little bit of a quiet time and been on the water-walker,” said Marsh. “He’s thrived during his break and will go straight into the Telegraph Handicap. He goes well fresh and won’t need a run beforehand.”