Vega on Classic fact-finding mission at Chester

Oaks test for unbeaten Beckett filly

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Manuela De Vega puts her unbeaten record on the line in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks on Wednesday.

Ralph Beckett’s filly was successful on each of her two starts as a juvenile – following up her debut triumph at Salisbury in September with victory in the Listed Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract the following month.

Beckett has saddled two previous winners of the Investec Oaks in in Look Here (2008) and Talent (2013) and hopes Manuela De Vega can establish herself as a contender for the Epsom Classic with a positive showing on the Roodee.

Beckett said: “I think she’s ready for it, but she will come on for it.

“It’s a good place for her to start her season. She won on good to firm and good to soft last year, so the ground doesn’t seem to make much difference to her – certainly it didn’t to her sister (Isabel De Urbina).

“We’ll find out more about her.”

Aidan O’Brien claimed his sixth Cheshire Oaks win with Magic Wand 12 months ago and this year relies on Secret Thoughts.

The daughter of War Front was not disgraced in finishing fifth behind subsequent 1000 Guineas runner-up Lady Kaya in a Guineas trial at Leopardstown last month and merits the utmost respect stepping up in trip.

The last horse to do the Chester-Epsom double was the brilliant Enable two years ago, and her trainer John Gosden this year has a couple of contenders in Fanny Logan and Mehdaayih.

Andrew Balding runs the promising Nottingham maiden winner Grace And Danger.

He said: “She won her maiden well and she’s a filly we like a bit.

“She’s had a tough winter, but we’re happy with her now and I’d hope she’ll run well.”

Mark Johnston’s Vivid Diamond and the Richard Fahey-trained Red Hot also feature in a deep field of 12 runners.

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Chester 14:25, 8 May 2019

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