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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Power-packed Prestige Stakes win for Antonia maintains Lope De Vega's hot spell

The filly became her sire's second Group winner of the week

Antonia De Vega (4) storms clear in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Prestige Stakes
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The Prestige Stakes has been a race to follow in recent times, with last year's renewal going the way of subsequent 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.

On Saturday the Goodwood Group 3 was won by Antonia De Vega, whose connections may well harbour Classic aspirations of their own after the daughter of Lope De Vega maintained her unbeaten record in taking fashion.

The Ralph Beckett-trained juvenile was sent off the 5-2 joint favourite after a successful Newmarket debut, but soon after halfway she seemed to be finding things happening too quickly. 

However, she got herself organised entering the final furlong and gamely stuck her head down before surging to a ready length-and-a-quarter success.

The fingerprints of Ballylinch Stud are all over Antonia De Vega's pedigree, and not just through her upwardly mobile sire, who stands at the County Kilkenny operation at a fee of €60,000.

Full replay of Antonia De Vega's storming Prestige Stakes success

She is the first foal out of Witches Brew, a daughter of Duke Of Marmalade who was bred and raced by Ballylinch and twice reached the podium in Listed contests while in training with Eddie Lynam.

In turn, Witches Brew is out of another horse bred by Ballylinch in Macheera, whose four winners are headed by Prix Jacques Le Marois scorer Al Wukair. The son of former Ballylinch resident Dream Ahead took up stud duties at Al Shaqab's Haras de Bouquetot earlier in the year, where he covered 117 mares.

Witches Brew and Al Wukair are siblings to Dream Today, also by Dream Ahead and bred by Ballylinch, who finished second in last year's Group 3 Autumn Stakes for record-breaking trainer Mark Johnston.

The third dam is 1991 Prix de Diane heroine Caerlina.

Lope De Vega: the Ballylinch Stud resident has now sired 24 Group winners
Since producing Antonia De Vega, Witches Brew has delivered a Lawman colt who will head to Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, where he will be offered by Ballylinch Stud as lot 847, and she produced full-sister to Saturday's winner earlier this year.

Antonia De Vega was bought by her trainer for €130,000 when offered by Ballylinch at last year's Goffs Orby Sale.

Saturday's success continued a fine week for Lope De Vega's fifth crop, who were conceived the year his fee had leapt from €12,500 to €40,000, after his son Phoenix Of Spain came with a late rattle to land the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.

The stallion struck again later on the Goodwood card when the smart Flaming Spear made light work of an official mark of 104 in a Class 2 handicap.

Lope De Vega, an 11-year-old son of Shamardal, has now produced 80 stakes performers, including 24 Group winners headed by six top-flight performers such as Belardo, The Right Man and Vega Magic.

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The fingerprints of Ballylinch Stud are all over Antonia De Vega's pedigree, and not just through her upwardly mobile sire
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