Wednesday 19 August 2020 3:24 pm

Mudlark De Vega set for Love shock at York

Bill Esdaile is City A.M. racing editor and managing director of Square in the Air.

ONLY a field of six are scheduled to line-up for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (3.15pm), the feature race on day two of the Ebor Festival at York. 

All eyes will be on Investec Oaks heroine Love who reappears after her breath-taking success at Epsom last month. 

The daughter of Galileo now has two wide-margin successes in Classics under her belt and is a red-hot favourite here at around 2/5. 

However, the one concern with her could well be the ground.

The Knavesmire is set to be hit by a deluge of rain late on Wednesday which could turn the ground soft, and though that alone may not be enough to stop her, it’s certainly a reason to look elsewhere. 

There is no getting away from the fact that Love has improved dramatically between the ages of two and three, but the form book tells you her below-par performances last season came when there was cut in the ground. 

It could well be that the ground is soft here and that this will be the worse surface she has faced in her career. 

Her unquestionable class may well see her through, but this is a tougher assignment than it looks. 

She is set to be taken on by four three-year-olds headed by recent Nassau Stakes runner-up One Voice. 

That was a really good performance, but the ground and step up in trip may not play to her strengths. 

John Gosden’s two daughters of Frankel look more likely to test the favourite. 

Frankly Darling was all at sea on the track at Epsom and is a far better filly than she showed that day, while Franconia has done little wrong in two victories this season and the step up in trip should play to her strengths. 

Everything revolves around how much rain actually hits the Knavesmire, but if it turns genuinely soft then MANUELA DE VEGA, the only older filly in the race, looks seriously over-priced at 20/1. 

The daughter of Lope De Vega has a pretty tough assignment on paper giving 9lbs to the three-year-olds but she is a proven mudlark with plenty of class. 

Nothing went to plan for her last season, including a troubled passage when fourth in the Oaks, but she has strengthened up and looks a different proposition this campaign. 

She bolted up at Haydock on her reappearance, beating subsequent Royal Ascot winner Fanny Logan in the process, and that was no fluke despite what many though.

On first watch it appeared she was gifted that race by the other jockeys, but she backed it up by scooting clear on soft ground In the Lancashire Oaks last time.

She travelled supremely well on bad ground that day and if conditions get really testing here, she will be in her element. 

There are plenty of firms also offering betting without Love and at 5/1 she looks worth backing in that market too. 


Manuela De Vega e/w 20/1 3.15pm York 

Manuela De Vega 5/1 without Love 3.15pm York