Luvaluva favourite to continue winning way

Caryl Williamson
Luvaluva is an early favourite to build on her summer record in the Listed January Cup at Randwick

After re-establishing herself as a winner, Luvaluva will start the short-priced favourite to enhance her record in the January Cup at Randwick.

The John Sargent-trained mare won the Group Three Summer Cup on December 26 over the same 2000m-course as Saturday's Listed race.

Her previous victory came in the Adrian Knox Stakes, also over the Randwick 2000m, in April 2018.

A few months earlier she won the Group Two Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington before running fourth in the VRC Oaks (2500m) won by Pinot.

She has opened at $2.40 in the seven-horse field in a cramped market with National Guard the outsider at $15.

While she went more than 18 months between wins, Sargent had geared Luvaluva's spring campaign around the $1 million The Gong at Kembla Grange on November 23.

"She is a horse who is better over the longer distances but we were concentrating on The Gong," Sargent said.

"Sometimes it is hard going from their three-year-old season into their four-year-old year but at five she is a stronger mare."

Luvaluva started equal favourite in The Gong but finished sixth, 1-1/2 lengths behind the winner Mister Sea Wolf.

The mare then developed a minor hock infection which put paid to any notion of a trip to Perth or New Zealand for a Group One race.

Luvaluva will be again be ridden by Koby Jennings who claimed his first Group win in the Summer Cup.

She goes up two-and-a-half kilograms from the 56.5kg she carried to win last start.

With many of Sydney's leading riders at the Gold Coast Magic Millions on Saturday, several others get the chance to shine at Randwick.

Among them is South African Brandon Lerena who is looking for a stakes win in his adopted country when he rides Sir Plush for his sponsor Bjorn Baker.

A multiple Group winner in his homeland, Lerena has ridden 11 winners since he arrived in August and claimed his first metropolitan victory on the Baker-trained Missybeel at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Adam Hyeronimus will be aboard Taikomochi for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott after spending three months sidelined by a bulging disc while visiting Irish rider Oisin Orr is on the Chris Waller-trained Alward.