Manuela De Vega the Star Filly in Cheshire Oaks Lineup

The Cheshire Oaks is often a race that is full of horses with potential for the future and that is certainly the case this year. However, there is one horse who has already shown a fair level of form, and one that could go onto bigger and better things after landing this listed contest. That is Manuela De Vega, who comes her with a 100% record from last season, after recording two wins from two starts.

She won a listed race on her final start of last season, and because of that she has to carry a 3lb penalty here, but I don’t think that will be enough to stop her. We saw her show her class that day, coming away from a decent field to win by nearly three lengths. That race was over a stiff mile at Pontefract and she stayed that very strongly, showing she is more than ready for the step up to this kind of trip, despite this race coming so early in her career. She looks to be one of the guaranteed stayers her, with a turn of foot to kick away from the field when needed.

Of those against her, there is one line of form that Secret Thoughts has from last season that makes her very interesting. She came third behind two good horses in what was a very good Group Three in Ireland, although there are a couple of things that make me worry about her. The rest of her form is good, but certainly not up to winning this. She is stepping up from 7f which means an additional half a mile today. She should get it on breeding, but it is a lot to ask a horse to do, and that is a worry for me.

The final thing is that she is from Ballydoyle, and while they have many chances for the Oaks, I get the feeling that if this was the one for them, she wouldn’t have come here for a listed race, she would have been targeted at a better race than this. I think Secret Thoughts is down the pecking order in her yard, and that won’t be good enough to beat Manuela De Vega based on what we have seen from her so far.

We have a few other unexposed types in the field, but Manuela De Vega is a combination of being unexposed and already offering top quality form. That is enough for me to side with her, I think it will take a good one to beat her on the opening day at Chester in the Cheshire Oaks.