Randwick trainer John Sargent knows a good filly when he gets one and believes Luvaluva has the ability to match the best he has trained.
In the past couple of years Sargent has had a series of quality fillies from Queensland Oaks winner Quintessential to VRC Oaks winner Kirramosa. The multiple Group 1-placed Thunder Lady and the last horse to beat Winx in Gust Of Wind, from the 2015 Australian Oaks.
“Luvaluva is showing the signs of being up there with all of them and might even be better than them but we will find that out in her next couple of runs,” Sargent said.
She heads to Friday’s Group 3 Carlton Draught Kembla Grange Classic in preparation for the Group 1 races in Sydney over the next month, and Sargent feels the spacious Kembla Grange circuit will be an advantage, but the distance might be short of her best.
“She is definitely bigger and stronger now and she will come into her own once the races get longer,” Sargent said. “She has to carry a penalty on Friday from her Wakeful Stakes win but she has definitely earned it. She will get back over the mile and find the line and will appreciate the big track.”
Luvaluva comes out of the best three-year-old form race in the country, where she surprised her trainer with a sixth in Kementari’s Hobartville Stakes. He believes Luvaluva will be another to frank that form following in the hoofprints of the first four home in the Randwick Guineas, and Assimilate that finished behind her in the Hobartville but went on to win the Canberra Guineas on Sunday.
“It is fantastic form and suggests she has come back a lot better,” Sargent said. “We were always going to take this course against the fillies, but she has form around the best colts in the land and the spring form where she is a Group 2 winner and ran fourth in the (VRC) Oaks.”
Kerrin McEvoy has been booked to ride Luvaluva in the Kembla Grange Classic and will test her as his ride in the Oaks.
“Everything she has done this preparation from her two trials to her first-up run, and even the piece of work on the course proper on Tuesday says she is much better now,” Sargent said. “Kerrin was impressed by her in the gallop.
“This is the perfect stepping stone to her Group 1 targets in the Vinery Stakes and Australian Oaks and I’m confident she will prove to be right up there with the best fillies I have trained by the end of the autumn.”