Max Vega sure to stay and handle Epsom, says Derby debutant Ralph Beckett

Horse Racing Ralph Beckett run Max Vega in Derby
Ralph Beckett: Max Vega will be trainer’s first runner in the Derby

By Jon Lees

GB: According to his trainer Ralph Beckett, Investec Derby outsider Max Vega will have at least two key attributes when he lines up at Epsom – the stamina to stay 1m4f plus the ability to handle the tricky track.

Max Vega will help his dual Oaks-winning trainer Beckett reach another Classic milestone on Saturday when he becomes his first runner in the historic race. The trainer saddled his first runner in the 2,000 Guineas when Kinross finished sixth at Newmarket in June.

Beckett reckons Max Vega will “get all of a mile and a half on his head” after his three-length victory last October in the G3 Zetland Stakes over 1m2f, from subsequent Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Miss Yoda.

The Derby: ‘I am massively excited, he ticks a lot of boxes’ – trainers on their runners

But he was only fifth in the G3 Classic Trial run at Kempton last month, in which King Edward VII Stakes winner Pyledriver finished second behind Berlin Tango.

“The tight-turning right-handed Kempton track didn’t suit him – I don’t think he enjoyed going right-handed,” said Beckett, who also part-owns Max Vega as a member of the Pickford Hill Partnership.

“I hope it rains but he is going to run whatever the ground,” added Beckett. “He is in good shape and worked well on Tuesday. He will do a little bit tomorrow but we are all set.

“He will stay and I think the track will suit him really well. He is a well- balanced, athletic horse. He wheeled round Pontefract on his second start so I think Epsom will suit him really well.”

Anything could happen! Lack of trials means a very open Derby, says Aidan O’Brien

Max Vega, who will be ridden by Harry Bentley, is a 40-1 chance with Coral after 17 horses were entered in the Derby. They are headed by favourite English King, the mount of Frankie Dettori, 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko plus seven colts trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Beckett plans to give Kinross his first start since the 2,000 Guineas in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on July 12.

“I thought he looked like a boy amongst men in terms of his maturity,” Beckett said. “He learned plenty that day and I am hoping that will pay off next time.”

Investec Derby betting

Coral: 9-4 English King, 9-2 Kameko, 6 Russian Emperor, 7 Mogul, 8 Vatican City, 14 Highland Chief, Pyledriver, 20 Armory, Mohican Heights, 25 Emissary, Khalifa Sat, 33 Mythical, Serpentine, Worthily, 40 Max Vega, 50 Amhran Na Bhfiann, Gold Maze.

Enable vs Ghaiyyath: Coral-Eclipse is the race of the season says Charlie Appleby

Oisin Murphy: Derby D-Day for Kameko – but the truth is we don’t know if he’ll stay

Oaks: Roger Varian double-handed in bid to thwart O’Brien and Gosden

GB: ‘It was long enough coming’ – Sir Mark Todd records first winner in Britain

The Derby: Martin Dwyer out to strike a blow for the underdog on Pyledriver

Visit the Horse Racing Planet home page for more great horse racing stuff