Antonia De Vega reigns in Princess Royal prize


Beckett eyeing Group One date with Newmarket victor.

Antonia De Vega set up a return to Group One company with victory in the Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes at Newmarket.

The Ralph Beckett-trained four-year-old put her recent injury problems behind her to make it two wins from as many starts this season with a resolute success in the Group Three prize.

Appearing to appreciate the rain that fell at the track earlier in the day, the lightly-raced daughter of Lope De Vega galloped on strongly all the way to the line in the mile-and-a-half contest to defeat Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Alpinista by half a length.

Beckett said of the 16-5 shot: “She was only having the eighth start of her career today. It has not always been easy with her as she had problems with her splints.

“It has been hard work with her and she had a problem with her splint (which kept her out of the Princess of Wales’s Stakes) and it grumbled away for too long. Her recent work was very good.

“The ground was a bit quick at Pontefract (in June) and she was a bit undercooked, but we just about got away with it. I’m delighted she got her head in front today.

“The obvious race for her is the Fillies & Mares on Champions Day.”

Cloak Of Spirits (4-1) made the most of a drop in grade to gain a deserved first success of the season in the Tasleet British EBF Rosemary Stakes.

Having finished second in the 1000 Guineas on her previous start at the track, the Richard Hannon-trained daughter of Invincible Spirit, whose five previous starts all came at Pattern level, proved a cut above her rivals on her return to a mile in the Listed contest.

Up with the pace throughout, the 4-1 shot found plenty late on to hold off favourite Bounce The Blues by half a length to score for the first time since making a winning debut at Ascot last year.

Hannon said: “I don’t think anyone would begrudge her winning that. It was lovely to see her win a black type race as she has been second in a Classic.

“Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has been very good to let me give her one more run this year. He will decide if we carry on, or if she goes to stud this year.

“She is a fine, big filly with a lot of scope. She would make a lovely broodmare, but she would also make a lovely four-year-old. She has been a star for me.

“I think she just loves this track. She has done it the hard way again. She was so brave in the Guineas, where she ran a super race and she deserved that.”

Rainbow Fire (11-2) continued to make up for lost time when getting off the mark at the second time of asking by a length in the Derrinstown Irish EBF Maiden Stakes.

Trainer John Gosden said: “He came up here in the first week when they were running the two-year-old races. My good friend Richard Hannon got one loose and he cannoned straight into this horse. He was lame and lost a lot of time.

“He has developed well since and had a run at Newbury. I think it was a nice sort of race today. He has been pleasing us and has shown a great attitude and he will get a mile.”

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