Vittoria Sydney bound

Apr 04, 2013

from Racing Victoria... Mick Kent has increased his Sydney presence at Rosehill for Golden Slipper Day, but another of his stable can enhance her chances of a trip north with a strong showing at Moonee Valley this Saturday.

Improving staying mare Vittoria can take another step towards a start in the Sydney Cup when she steps out in the $100,000 Friends Of Epworth Handicap (2500m).

The four-year-old has won her only two starts this time in, including a strong 2040m Moonee Valley win in 0-89 mares grade on 15 March, and Kent is happy to keep the Sydney Cup dream alive while she is racing well.

“She’s quite a handy staying mare and she’s done well since her last win,” the Cranbourne trainer said. “I’m really looking forward to getting her over this trip and she gets in nicely with the claim.

“She holds a nom for the Sydney Cup, but we’ll just see how her form is this run and maybe one more before that and see what the field looks like.”

The daughter of Postponed is now delivering on the promise that Kent has always felt she has possessed.

After starting her career in her native New Zealand, she came to Kent ahead of the 2011 Spring, during which she finished fourth, albeit beaten 10.5 lengths, behind Mosheen in the Crown Oaks and was third behind Quintessential in the Queensland Oaks last June.

“She was very immature,” Kent said was his initial thought of Vittoria. “I trained her for the VRC Oaks, then she went home to New Zealand and spelled and I met her Queensland and she ran in the Queensland Oaks, when she ran well.

“She went home again and had a good spell again and she’s just matured. She’s always shown good staying potential, it’s just been a matter of getting her to season up.”

Vittoria will carry just 51kg after Jackie Beriman’s 3kg claim and is the $6 joint second favourite with Chris Waller-trained import Thubiaan in the market headed by Mike Moroney’s Major Coup ($5).

Vittoria is one of three runners for Kent at Moonee Valley with  Hula Lua – who is also entered for the Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) that kicks off Saturday’s Rosehill program – favoured to make it three Moonee Valley wins on end in the $80,000 Meadownick Laser Clinic Handicap (2040m).

Summer Gem, who won back-to-back races at Flemington and Caulfield during summer, will take on the likes of Angels Beach, Elite Elle, Red Fez and Angelic Light in a slick $80,000 Construction Engineering  Handicap (1200m).

But while he has leading fancies engaged at the Valley, Kent’s big names will be in action in Sydney,  where he has promising staying three-year-olds Philippi and High Shot engaged in the $175,000 Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) – the traditional final lead-up to the $1.5m ATC Australian Derby.

Kent also has eyes on the ATC’s other staying Classic, the Oaks, with Summerbliss to round out her campaign in a hot $400,000 Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).

Kent knows what’s required of an ATC Oaks winner, having prepared Absolutely to win two years ago, and he said Saturday’s 2000m event should top off Summerbliss nicely for that race.

“It’s a pretty good Vinery and she’s drawn deep (10), but it’s just the preparation for the Oaks,” Kent said. “She’s looking for the mile-and-a-half now.

“She’s a nice filly, I really like her, and she’ll stay. That’s one thing she will do. I’m looking forward to getting to 2400 at Randwick with her.”