Max Vega thrust himself into the picture for next year’s Investec Derby after taking a step up in class in his stride in the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.
Having gone one better than on his debut Salisbury with an impressive victory at Pontefract next time out, the son of Lope De Vega was not for stopping on his first start over 10 furlongs in the Group Three affair.
Despite being keen early on the 7-1 shot pulled smartly clear to score by three lengths and complete an early double on the card for trainer Ralph Beckett and jockey Harry Bentley and earn a 33-1 quote for next year’s Epsom Classic with Paddy Power in the process.
Beckett said: “He wasn’t a big yearling and he has not grown into a very big two-year-old. He should develop over the winter. He has been a very straightforward little horse.
“He did a nice bit of work August-time and he ran well on his debut then we went for what appeared a penalty kick.
“I didn’t plan to come here today but he was so well, I was sure that he would stay and he was always going to handle the ground.
“He was keen and at halfway I thought he was either going to win by a minute or fall in a hole and fortunately he did the former.”
Tomfre can now boast victories at both Newmarket tracks after defying top weight to return to winning ways in the Dubai Nursery.
After failing to beat a rival in a Listed contest at Doncaster last time out, the son of Cable Bay made the most of a drop down in class.
Racing just behind the pace in the far side group throughout, the 7-1 shot, who has two wins at the July Course to his name already, moved to the head of affairs inside the final furlong before scoring by half a length on the Rowley Mile.
Beckett said: “He saw too much daylight at Doncaster and he was a bit edgy beforehand, but he was much better today.
“Most of the mare’s progeny handled the ground so we were fairly hopeful and so it proved.
“He is a great little horse and to get one to win four races at two takes a bit of doing. I suspect we will put him away now.”
Beckett and Bentley combined for a third winner on the card as Richenza caused a minor upset in the Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes.
Turning out just a week after finishing seventh in the Group Three Bengough Stakes at Ascot, the 11-1 shot got the better of Invitational by a length and three-quarters.
“She’s been a great filly for the team and she loves this soft ground – it was a real plus when the rain came,” said Bentley.
“I got to the front early enough, but I had that forward momentum and she kept on running to the line.”