Kris Lees wants the Cox Plate to be the third run of Lucia Valentina's spring preparation, he is just yet to finalise her exact path to Moonee Valley.

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner had her second trial of the campaign at Gosford on Monday, settling off the pace before working strongly to the line to place second behind Sense Of Occasion.

Keeping Lucia Valentina fresh and spacing her runs was a big key to her autumn success according to Lees, and the Newcastle trainer is keen to take a similar approach this preparation.

Lees will run Lucia Valentina at Royal Randwick on August 20, with the Warwick Stakes and a clash with champion mare Winx the most likely option.

If that is the case, Lucia Valentina will then travel to Melbourne and run in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 24 before progressing to the Cox Plate, run on October 22.

And while that is the expected option, Lees has also floated the idea of running first-up in the Show County Quality (1200m) on August 20 and from there she could tackle the George Main Stakes (1600m) second-up on September 17 before heading to Melbourne for the Cox Plate.


"The key is having her at Moonee Valley third-up for Cox Plate day," Lees said.


"We've got a couple of ways we could attack it, I think going in to the Warwick Stakes first-up is what is looking most likely at this stage.


"We would have to run in to Winx and for that reason we could run in the Show County, which is at 1200m and she would get a lot of weight as it is a handicap.


"We haven't locked anything in but I'd imagine running in the Warwick Stakes is favourite."


Lees' Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain also trialled at Gosford on Monday and is being aimed for a return in the Show County on August 20.


The Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) run at Caulfield on September 24 is a likely target according to Lees.


"He will go to the Tramway second-up and from there we will make a decision whether we press on to the Epsom in Sydney or head to Melbourne for the Rupert Clarke and Toorak," he said.