Majestic To Bid For Rockfel Glory

|

Trainer Andrew Balding looks to bring the Rockfel S. trophy to Kingsclere for the first time | Emma Berry

Day two of Newmarket's Cambridgeshire Festival plays host to five black-type heats with the Unibet-sponsored G2 Rockfel S. and G2 Joel S. sharing top billing on the seven-race card. The former contest's honour roll features a swathe of subsequent Group 1 winners since the turn of the century, headed by Classic heroines Speciosa (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), Finsceal Beo (Ire) (Mr. Greeley) and Just The Judge (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}). However, the seven-furlong juvenile fillies' prize has never made its way to Kingsclere, and last month's G3 Sweet Solera S. victrix Majestic Glory (GB) (Frankel {GB}), acquired by Doreen Tabor from Gearoid Costelloe in the interim, bids to break that sequence for the Andrew Balding stable in an open renewal. The 350,000gns Tattersalls December foal will head postward as the likely favourite.

George Boughey is set to saddle G3 Prix Six Perfections winner Oscula (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}), who also ran third in the G2 Prix du Calvados, and Listed Empress Fillies' S. and Listed Winkfield S. third Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}). The trainer has enjoyed a banner campaign with his juvenile band and has high hopes for both. “Oscula just got caught late on last time, but she got bumped into and that lit her up and she ran keen, which she's never done before,” he said. “I think she's up to this level and I think she'll run a massive race, but she's got to handle Newmarket. She wouldn't have done a huge amount of work on the track so that's a little bit new to her, but her style of racing should suit it. Cachet and Oscula both worked nicely on Tuesday morning. Cachet was slow out of the gate and unlucky in France. She jumps out fine at home so hopefully we'll tidy that up before this. I think you'll see a different Cachet as the race wasn't run to suit her in France, but she looks great now.”

National Stud first-crop sires get two shots at the prize with G3 Dick Poole Fillies' S. winner Romantic Time (GB) (Time Test {GB}) seeking to push conditioner William Stone another rung up the ladder after achieving a career high in that Salisbury contest earlier in the month. Amo Racing's Hello You (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) has finished just off the board in two outings for David Loughnane since placing in both the G3 Albany S. and G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. for Ralph Beckett. She goes postward coming back from a close-up fourth in last month's G3 Prestige S. at Goodwood. “Hello You is improving with every run,” explained Loughnane. “She's starting to settle down as she's been overly keen on her last two starts and was arguably a bit unlucky in running. She's definitely up to this level and deserves to get a group win beside her name. She's been very consistent and has run some solid races so hopefully we'll have a good run.” Other contenders of note include the hitherto undefeated duo Jumbly (GB) (Gleneagles {Ire}, who snagged wins at Leicester and Kempton for Roger Charlton, and John and Tanya Gunther's Girl On Film (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}), a Ralph Beckett trainee coming back off a seven-furlong maiden win at the town's Summer venue last month. “It's a big ask, but her homework indicates she's ready for it and we'll see what happens,” said Beckett. “She's a big, raw-boned filly and I'm very hopeful that it works out on Friday. If it doesn't, she'll be a better filly next year. I'm looking forward to it.”

Benbatl Seeks Joel Record

Godolphin's three-time top-level scorer Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) annexed the penultimate renewal of his home town's G2 Joel S. and, if successful this time around, will become the first dual winner of the one-mile contest. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained veteran globetrotter also ran third last year and came back off a 337-day break to be denied by pixels in last month's G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood in his only subsequent outing. “He has done well since his last race and he's in good form,” said bin Suroor. “He ran a big race in the Celebration Mile after missing the break from the stalls. This has been his target since Goodwood and his last piece of work was very good. It's going to be a good race, but we are looking to see a big run from him.” His seven rivals include the Charlie Appleby-trained 3-year-old Master Of The Seas (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), who garnered last term's G2 Superlative S. and this year's G3 Craven S., lining up off a short-head second over course and distance in May's G1 2000 Guineas. “Master Of The Seas was unfortunate to meet with a setback after the 2000 Guineas, but his preparation into this has gone well and we are very pleased with him,” revealed Appleby. “There will be improvement to come on whatever he does here as we have an eye on the Breeders' Cup or Champions Day afterwards.” Former Mike de Kock trainee and dual winner of South Africa's G1 Paddock S. Queen Supreme (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) adds flavour to an already spicy affair and makes her debut for the Andrew Balding team. “This is her first run since January, but she was a Grade 1 winner in South Africa when trained by Mike de Kock,” said rider Ryan Moore. “She would have had a tough trip over here and would have had to spend time in quarantine. She's running against two very good horses in Master Of The Seas and Benbatl so it's a tough ask, but we'll see how she goes.”

Albaflora A Late Bloomer?

Kirsten Rausing's Lanwades Stud nursery has enjoyed a season for the ages and is represented by homebred G1 Yorkshire Oaks and G2 Lillie Langtry S. placegetter Albaflora (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}) in the G3 Princess Royal S. over 12 furlongs. The 4-year-old distaffer, who also ran fourth in this term's G1 Coronation Cup, will go postward as a likely warm order and faces a competitive cast of 10 in a sixth attempt to break her pattern-race duck. Elsewhere on the card, Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor join forces to launch a three-strong Godolphin assault on the one-mile Listed Rosemary S. with last year's G3 Prix Six Perfections second Wedding Dance (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) coming back off a 419-day sabbatical and representing the former. Dubai Love (GB) (Night of Thunder {Ire}), who has had a wind procedure since earning minor prizes in this year's G2 Cape Verdi and G2 Balanchine at Meydan, returns for this distaffers' test off a 218-day break of her own. Her Saeed bin Suroor-trained stablemate Soft Whisper (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) is another on the comeback trail after finishing lame in Meydan's Mar. 27 G2 UAE Derby and makes her first start since. Appleby's G2 Princess of Wales's S. third Star Safari (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) encountered soft ground for the first time when a close-up seventh in last month's G3 Prix de Reux at Deauville and is back on a sounder surface for the Listed Godolphin S. over 12 furlongs.

HQ Juvenile Contests Take Shape

Newmarket's week of bloodstock sales and racing builds to a crescendo on Saturday with a trio of Juddmonte-sponsored juvenile contests–the G1 Cheveley Park S., G1 Middle Park S. and G2 Royal Lodge S.–sitting alongside the Cambridgeshire meeting's titular event. The six-furlong Cheveley Park has attracted a 13-strong field, headed by the hitherto undefeated Ger Lyons trainee Sacred Bridge (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}), who has drawn stall three, with last month's G2 Lowther S. exacta of Zain Claudette (Ire) (No Nay Never) and Sandrine (GB) (Bobby's Kitten) in one and two, respectively. Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum's G1 Prix Morny hero Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) is the one to beat in the 10-runner Middle Park and has drawn the one hole while Mick and Janice Mariscotti's Masekela (Ire) (El Kabeir) will be up, up and away from stall five in the seven-runner Royal Lodge.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Exit Box x
X

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.