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Valiant Valentigra

A plan devised between trainers Tony & Calvin McEvoy and the team at Cornerstone Stud returned the perfect dividend when Valentigra won on debut at Port Lincoln on Sunday, February 21.

With double breeding bonuses on offer in South Australia for the month of February, Valentigra picked up $34,000 for her win in Dempsey’s Saddlery & Feed Handicap (1210m, a benchmark 58 for two-year-olds.

The win gave the McEvoy trainers a two-state double following the win of another two-year-old Swamp Vixen at Ballarat in Victoria, 45 minutes earlier.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said the plan had come together after the filly trialled well at Morphettville.

“Sam Pritchard-Gordon, Sam Hayes and ourselves scanned the program for a suitable race for the filly and this one stood out,” McEvoy said.

“My wife Jo and myself drove around on Saturday and we left for home an hour after the race.”

McEvoy said planning for the trip went as far as selecting the jockey for Valentigra.

“Studying the results, there was no doubt that Anna Jordsjo rides the track exceptionally well,” the trainer said.

“It can be a tricky track, but Anna’s record, including a recent four-timer, showed she was the right jockey for the filly.”

Valentigra was sent out the $2.60 second favourite behind the well backed $2.20 favourite Roxy Blue.

Roxy Blue began quickly to assume the lead but Jordsjo had Valentigra away well to settle second.

Coming to the home turn, she allowed the Cornerstone Stud filly to slide up and challenge the leader.

The pair had a strong battle down the home straight but Valentigra proved a shade too strong to score by a neck from Roxy Blue with Mr Mavaheedy ($14), 5-1/2 lengths away third.

McEvoy said Milano Bloodstock, managed by Mark Milano, was the major shareholder in the ownership group which had been put together by Cornerstone Stud’s Sam Pritchard-Gordon.

“The win also will be a boost for the stud with the filly being by their stallion, Valentia.

“I’m not sure what will do now with her because most races in Adelaide for two-year-olds over the next few weeks are only around 1000 metres.

“She needed all the 1200 metres today and I believe she is looking for at least that trip. I’ll get her home and have a talk with the owners about where we go.”