Antonia De Vega to launch new campaign in Newbury prize won by Sea Of Class

Antonia De Vega, winner of last year’s Group 3 Prestige Stakes, is ready to make her first start of the campaign in what promises to be another informative running of the Listed Johnnie Lewis Memorial British EBF Stakes at Newbury.

Last year Sea Of Class captured the prize en route to winning the Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and taking second place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe while other subsequent Group 1 winners on the race’s roll of honour include Speedy Boarding and Great Heavens, another Irish Oaks winner.

Antonia De Vega, who is entered in the Irish Oaks, won her first two starts last year, landing a maiden at Newmarket and then the Prestige at Goodwood, but was found to be lame when last of eight in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket for which she started third favourite.

She is one of six declared for the 1m2f race which has also attracted Group 1 placed Star Terms, who was 11th in the 1,000 Guineas and fourth in the Listed Haras de Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial at Newbury last time, and Terebellum, a clear-cut winner of Goodwood maiden race on debut for John Gosden last month.

Antonia De Vega is one of four daughters of Lope De Vega that Ralph Beckett trains for Waverley Racing, all of which won as two-year-olds and include Investec Oaks fourth Manuela De Vega.

Beckett said: “Antonia De Vega has not had an easy spring. It hasn’t gone as smoothly as we’d like, but she is going to enjoy the juice in the ground on Thursday and she is in good shape. Because she won her Group 3 race in August she has no penalty.

“We are in pretty good shape in every sense. If things had gone to plan she would have been out sooner and also if it had rained at all this spring, which it didn’t. Now it has she’s got to run. She’s in good form and this is a good place to start her.”

The going at Newbury on Tuesday was soft following 52mm of rain since Monday morning.

The seven race card opens with a potentially informative running of the Be Wiser Insurance Novice Stakes for two-year-olds, won in 2017 by subsequent Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Expert Eye and last year by Confiding, who finished third in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood next time out.

Among the newcomers in the field are the Mark Johnston-trained Gold Souk, a half-brother to leading Ascot Gold Cup hope Dee Ex Bee.

Gates open at 11.00am with the first race at 2.00pm for the first of two June meetings at Newbury Racecourse.