Memories of the fabulous racemare Lucia Valentina came flooding back on Monday as her daughter Luella Cristina made a successful raceday debut at Tauranga.
The Stephen Marsh-trained daughter of Snitzel is the second foal of three-time Australian Group One winner Lucia Valentina who registered her greatest triumph in the 2016 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick.
Lucia Valentina was prepared by Marsh for the first five starts of her career in New Zealand where she won on debut at Tauranga before going on to score her first stakes win when successful in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki.
Bred and raced by Wellington businessman Lib Petagna, Luella Cristina looks to have inherited all of her mother's ability as she sprinted quickly when presented with a gap in the run home and cruised to victory by just over half a length in the maiden 1200m contest, under the minimal urgings of rider Sam Weatherley.
Marsh admitted that while it was a maiden win, the victory held special significance for all involved.
“That was a very tidy performance and I know that Lib and the people around him will have got a real kick out of this as I know I certainly have,” Marsh said.
“She is obviously bred in the purple and has a lot to live up to, but to win at the same track where her mum kicked her career off is pretty neat.
“I've watched the replay a couple of times and she looked to do things very professionally and had plenty of petrol left in the tank at the finish.”
Marsh doesn't have any special plans for the filly as he believes she is a long way from full maturity just yet.
“She is a slow maturer who didn't really show a lot early on,” he said.
“Every prep we have given her, she has improved and I have been pleased with the development she has shown in the trials we gave her.
“I think she is an autumn sort of horse, so we won't be getting too ambitious as she has it all in front of her.”
Marsh was pleased to get the win to kick off 2023 after having little luck with his runners on New Year's Day at Te Rapa.
“We just didn't have the bird on our shoulder at Te Rapa which was quite frustrating,” he said.
“The horses went well but we couldn't quite crack it with a win, so it is nice to turn the page and get one under the belt today.”
Marsh made it a winning double at Tauranga when three-year-old Tavistock gelding Financier broke his maiden status when successful over 1400m later in the day.