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19/11/2019 Luvaluva out to get Gong at Kembla Grange


Having ruled Luvaluva out of a Group One feature in Perth, trainer John Sargent will concentrate on a million dollar race closer to home with the mare to head to The Gong at Kembla Grange.

Sargent and Luvaluva's owners considered the Kingston Town Classic at Ascot on December 7 but the logistics of the trip to the other side of the country proved incalculable.

Luvaluva is one of 25 entries for Saturday's $1 million The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange south of Sydney after pleasing her trainer with her two performances this spring.

After a late start to her campaign, Luvaluva finished second in a 1400m-open handicap at Rosehill on October 26 then midfield in the Group Two Hot Danish (1400m) two weeks later.

"She missed the earlier races in the spring and we thought about taking her to Perth but in the end the planes go too soon and things didn't fit in," Sargent said.

"So she will run in The Gong and then be aimed at the Villiers along with House Of Cartier.

"I''ve been very pleased with Luvaluva's two starts. Tim Clark will ride her in the race and he will also come and gallop her on Tuesday morning."

House Of Cartier won the 1850m-race at Newcastle on Saturday and will head next to the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on November 30 two weeks before the Group Two Villiers (1600m) at Randwick.

Although Luvaluva is proven over longer distances including the 2017 Group Two Wakeful Stakes (2000m), Sargent believes The Villiers is a realistic race for both mares.

"The mile at Randwick is like a 2000 metre race anyway," he said.

Luvaluva has the added credential of victory in the Kembla Grange Classic over the 1600m-course on her last visit to the track in March, 2018.

The Gong comes a week after the $1 million The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle with both races and the stand-alone meetings new to the calendar this year.

Godolphin won The Hunter with Savatiano and will rely on Ranier at Kembla Grange with Rachel King to ride.

The Chris Waller-trained Mister Sea Wolf heads the 25 nominations with a rating of 108 with New Zealand Group One winner Nicoletta, now with Kris Lees, next on 103 and stablemate El Dorado Dreaming on 102.


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