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Lucia Valentina Wins Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite success when top-class 5YO New Zealand-bred mare Lucia Valentina (Savabeel-Staryn Glenn, by Montjeu) finished powerfully to score by 2.3 lengths for trainer Kris Lees in the showpiece event of The Championships, the $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, over 6YO Irish-bred entire The United States (Galileo-Beauty is Truth, by Pivotal) & 5YO gelding Happy Clapper (Teofilo-Busking, by Encosta de Lago). Newcastle-based trainer Kris Lees said it was a very rewarding victory. "It's a great result. It's very rewarding when you set a horse for a race so far out," Lees told Sky Racing. "She was going up to 2000 metres, her pet distance, she had a month between runs - I had no doubt she would be effective second-up." He added: "She has that wonderful turn of foot. That's her career best performance, no doubt. They [the owners] are talking about sending her to stud but I think I might have to talk to them about going around again [next season]." Champion jockey Damien Oliver was likewise impressed with the win. "That's amazing," he said. "She couldn't go with them at all early but If you just leave her alone this mare she will reward you late. he added: "Coming to the turn I had a lot of horse but not much room to move, but she picked herself up and just went whoosh!" Lucia Valentina, who was purchased by Bruce Perry Bloodstock for NZ$60,000 at the 2012 NZB Premier Yearling Sale on behalf of Wellington businessman Lib Petagna, advanced her record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes, Gr2 VRC Matriarch Stakes, Gr2 Tramway Stakes & Gr3 Wellington Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Ranvet Stakes, Gr1 Australian Oaks, Gr2 Surround Stakes & Gr2 Royal Stakes) from 27 starts for $4,219,089 earnings.