Luvaluva to start Oaks bid in Hobartville

Luvaluva wins the Wakeful Stakes.
Luvaluva (left) will start her ATC Australian Oaks campaign in the Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill.

John Sargent insists has no qualms about challenging Luvaluva to open her autumn campaign in the Group Two Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill.

The Randwick trainer had the option to start the three-year-old filly against her own kind in the Group One Surround Stakes (1400m) on her home track on Saturday week, but Sargent said the Hobartville fitted in better with his plans.

“She is kicking off there because it suits her program. I didn’t want to wait another week,” he said.

Sargent said Luvaluva would go second-up into the Group Three Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange then tackle the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

The $1 million Group One ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 14 will be the climax of her campaign.

Sargent is confident Luvaluva can build on spring, highlighted by victory in the Group Two Wakeful Stakes (2000m).

“She’s probably spelled better than any three-year-old filly I’ve had,” he said.

“She’s a lot stronger and bigger, I’m tickled pink with her.

“It’ll be a bit sharp for her on Saturday but as long as she’s hitting the line she’s on track.”

Luvaluva drew barrier five when the field of 11 was finalised for the Hobartville and will be ridden by Jay Ford because Kerrin McEvoy has commitments in Melbourne.

“Kerrin worked her on Tuesday and the feedback was positive,” Sargent said.

Luvaluva last raced in the Group One VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in November and has had two trials to slot back into race mode.

“She had a six-week break after the Oaks and she’s now a lot more mature,” Sargent said.

“I think she’ll be better again in the spring. Three-year-old fillies don’t always train on at four, but I think this one will.”

Hobartville favourite Kementari resumed with an impressive victory in the Group Three Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) but trainer James Cummings acknowledged that Saturday would be a significant challenge.

“Now he has to step up again at the set weights in the Hobartville,” he said.

“There are some very good horses in this race and we are excited to see how he performs on Saturday.”