Haydock preview: Feliciana De Vega taken to deliver in Dick Hern

Published on: August 9, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
Our Dick Hern Stakes preview from Haydock includes Feliciana De Vega for trainer Ralph Beckett

Feliciana De Vega is an exciting prospect and fancied to make a winning return to action in the Listed 1m Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock on Saturday (14:30).

This Ralph Beckett trained three-year-old filly was backed as if defeat was out of the question and sent off 10/11 on debut in an 11-runner novice stakes contest at Newmarket in November.

Her supporters never had an anxious moment as she travelled well on the heels of the leaders, before taking up the running a furlong from and scooting clear to slam Material Girl by six lengths.

That taking display saw connections pitch the well-bred daughter of Lope De Vega into Listed company and she took it in her stride to follow-up in fine style at Deauville.

After dwelling at the start, jockey Cristophe Soumillon was content to settle Feliciana De Vega in the final trio on the outside of the 10-runner field.

He then pushed her into contention two from home and, after being angled out to get a run, she powered hom to easily beat Ours Puissant by 4 1/2 lengths.

The manner in which Feliciana De Vega put the race to bed suggested that she had a huge engine and needed keeping firmly onside.

This is a stronger Listed affair, but Feliciana De Vega falls firmly into the could be anything category and it’s interesting that she holds an entry later this month in a Group 3 at Tipperary.

She also has bags of scope and receives a handy 7lb weight-for-age allowance from the four-year-olds, which include the favourite Miss O Connor.

So, taking everything into account, Feliciana De Vega makes plenty of appeal at the 3/1 on offer with 888Sport and is fancied to maintain her unbeaten record.

Miss O Connor looks plenty short enough in Dick Hern Stakes

The aforementioned Miss O Connor is also unbeaten in two starts and 2/1 with Coral to complete the hat-trick under in-form rider Oisin Murphy.

After landing a 15-runner maiden at Gowran Park last May by 1 1/2 lengths when in the care of John Feane, this daughter of Roderic O’Connor was very impressive when running out a wide-margin winner over 1m at Nottingham last week on her first start for William Haggas.

Miss O Connor took up the running after two furlongs and bounded clear a furlong from home to win by 11 lengths from Al Moataz.

She won doing cartwheels and, although what she beat is questionable, it was a very visually taking display.

This demands much more, however, and the fact that Miss O Connor doesn’t hold any future big race entries suggests that connections don’t really know how good she is at this stage of her career.

So, at the odds on offer, she looks opposable and is taken on in the Dick Hern Stakes with Feliciana De Vega who is already a winner at this level.

Class-dropping Ginger Fox the answer to opener

In the extended 1m handicap that gets proceedings underway on a cracking seven-race card (13:25), Ginger Fox looks worth siding with at 5/1 with Bethard to take advantage of a drop in class and gain a deserved success.

This three-year-old won a nursery at Yarmouth as a juvenile when trained by Richard Hannon, and has posted a number of solid efforts in handicaps this season since joining Ian Williams.

They include when beaten 1 1/2 lengths into second in a class 3 at Doncaster and a fine half-a-length runner-up to Certain Lad over course and distance two starts back in the same grade off a mark of 78.

Ginger Fox lost his place at a crucial stage in the latter, before rallying strongly and gaining all the way to the line.

The third home Rufus King has since come out and run really well to finish fourth in a hot handicap at the Galway Festival, whilst the fourth home Reputation went into the race on the back of a fine second behind a progressive sort.

It gives the form a strong look in relation to this lower grade class 4 affair and Ginger Fox is able to race in it off just 1lb higher.

The son of Iffraaj undoubtedly has a race of this nature in him off his current rating off 79, while another plus is that he’s versatile as regards ground.

Mikmak makes plenty of each-way appeal

Mikmak is on a handy mark at present, so having shaped well in his last two starts makes plenty of each-way appeal at 14/1 with Unibet in the other extended mile handicap (13:55).

This Tim Easterby trained six-year-old won twice last season, landing a class 4 handicap at Ripon off a rating of 77 and a competitive 17-runner class 3 affair at Thirsk when beating Borodin by 2 1/2 lengths off 80.

He also ran very well when a neck second to Waarif at Ripon off 87 and when a fine 2 3/4 lengths third of 16 to stable companion Just Hiss off a mark of 87 in a class 2 at York.

Mikmak is now able to race in this class 3 affair off 82 – just 2lb higher than when last victorious.

That makes him a big player at the weights in the pick of his form. The son of Makfi also comes into the race on the back of a brace of solid efforts which suggest his time is near.

In the first of those at Ripon, Mimkak stuck to the task well found only the progessive three-year-old Sameem 2 1/2 lengths too good.

The winner, who he gave 2lb to, and since gone on to land a Listed contest at Hamilton by three lengths – so that gives the form a strong look.

Mikmak backed that up with a fine 1 3/4 lengths third of 15 to Kylie Rules in the valuable Thirsk Summer Cup.

Those runs show that he can be very competitive off his current rating and Mikmak look sure to be in the shake-up once again.

He completes this Haydock preview for August 10 as an each-way bet on the Dick Hern Stakes card.