Manuela De Vega to Finally Show Class in Lillie Langtry
Many people would be happy with how Manuela De Vega has ran so far, she has ran in some of the best races we have on offer. However, despite all of that, I think connections will be a little disappointed with her when you consider the impression she made last season, but I think that may be about to come to an end. With more races under her belt and a little more maturity, coupled with two more furlongs here and I think that can be enough for her to finally show her class and land the Lillie Langtry Stakes on the final day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting.
Last season she won what turned out to be a good Salisbury maiden on debut, and she followed that up with a listed win at Pontefract to end her season. That win at Pontefract was over a very stiff mile on good to soft ground, and from then on we knew she was going to turn into a staying horse, who needed middle distances as a minimum. She also showed a high level of form, and was spoken about as a potential Oaks horse.
She came back this season and ran in the Cheshire Oaks where she came second. The winner that day was Mehdaayih, who has since won a Group Two and finished second in a Group One at this meeting earlier in the week, so that form is of a good standard, and one good enough to win this I think. She was well beaten on the day, but was short of room coming around the bend which allowed Mehdaayih to get first run and kick clear.
She then went to Epsom where she came fourth in the Derby. Again, she had a similar run to that at Chester, she struggled for racing room at an important part of the race which hampered her when moving forward before staying on strongly and finishing the race well to grab fourth.
She then went to Ireland where she was a little disappointing, the only time she has been that in her career so far. I am more than happy to forgive her for that, and the race over in Ireland for the Irish Oaks was a very strange one, with the leader given a huge lead and nothing getting anywhere near, which adds more power to forgiving the run.
Now she heads to Goodwood and two things are in her favour. The first is the trip, she goes up to 1m6f here and she looks as though she will stay it better than most. From her final win of last season, she has looked every inch a stayer to me, and on her three starts at 1m4f this season she has been doing good work towards the end of the race and looked full of running. The second positive is that her sights have been lowered a little from two Group One races. I think she is more than capable of running well in Group One races and could win one with a bit of luck. However, I think in the slightly lower class here, she has even more chance of winning and any group win will add value to her when she retires to stud, so don’t be surprised to see them target races like this with her to get wins on the board.
The two race favourites, Dramatic Queen and Enbihaar have ran against each other for the last two races, winning one each. The margins have been half a length and a neck, so there is clearly nothing to choose between these two and I expect them to finish close together again.
The other contender comes from the Aidan O’Brien yard, but you are judging her on what she could be, rather than what she has already shown us on a racecourse. She is lightly raced with just five starts to far, but shown improvement in her last two. She won a listed race over this distance in good style last time out, and was fourth in a Group Three contest before that. She hasn’t yet shown the form to win a race of this nature, but is one that could still be improving and has to be considered based on that.
Having spoken about those, I am still coming back to Manuela De Vega here though. She has a high level of form this season, and with the step up in trip looking as though it will suit her, this looks to be a great opportunity for her to get a group win on the board.