Beckett sets sights on Lancashire Oaks for Manuela De Vega
Ralph Beckett plans to send Manuela De Vega on a return trip to Haydock next month for the Lancashire Oaks.
The Lope De Vega filly will bid to continue climbing back through the ranks by giving the Andover handler his first victory in the mile-and-a-half Group Two prize.
Having finished second on three occasions last season, Manuela De Vega finally gained her first victory since October 2018 with a front-running success in a Group Three at the Merseyside track last Sunday.
Beckett said: “It had been a long time between drinks and she was nothing if not persistent last year. I felt that she deserved a win like that given the strength of her form as she never missed a dance last year.
“It was a good ride from the front by Rob (Hornby). We planned it that way and he executed it perfectly.
“She takes her racing extremely well and her sister improved from three to four and that looks like that might be the case with her.
“The Lancashire Oaks looks the obvious race and with her having a liking for soft ground, the Prix de Royallieu looks an obvious target at the end of the season.”
A step up in class and trip at Royal Ascot is on the agenda for Trefoil following her staying-on third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, with Beckett earmarking the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes as her next target.
Beckett said: “The winner (Run Wild) got the run of the race at Newmarket, but it was a good ride on her from Oisin (Murphy).
“Trefoil lacked the experience, but I was very pleased how she went through to the line.
“She has come out of the race well and we have entered her in the Ribblesdale. Her full-sister got a mile and a half well, so she should be fine.”
An outing at the Royal meeting is potentially on the cards for 2000 Guineas sixth Kinross, with Beckett considering giving him the opportunity to return to winning ways in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
He said: “It was a bit like at Newcastle where he looked like a boy against men, but hopefully he will improve for that.
“The St James’s Palace Stakes was my first thought afterwards, but that may be one jump too quickly. I will see how I feel about that on Monday.”
Both Babbo’s Boy, who made a winning debut for the stable at Haydock on Sunday, and stablemate Moon King, who scored at the track 24 hours later, will form part of Beckett’s team for the Royal meeting.
Beckett added: “A change of scenery together with the removal of a certain part of his anatomy and his adaption to headgear worked a cumulative effect (on Babbo’s Boy).
“We are in a good place with him and he will now go to the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap.
“Moon King will go for the Ascot Stakes. Every day is like Christmas to him as he is the most enthusiastic horse.
“With a penalty he should get in the race. The extra half a mile will be no problem to him.”
Ground conditions will determine whether last year’s Zetland Stakes winner Max Vega will tackle the Investec Derby on July 4.
The Lope De Vega colt made a satisfactory return when finishing fifth in the Group Three Classic Trial at Kempton last week.
Beckett said: “If it came up slow ground he would go to Epsom, otherwise we could have a look at the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket and treat him as a St Leger horse.
“It was a combination of two things at Kempton as the mile and a quarter was sharp enough for him and he didn’t enjoy going right-handed.”
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