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Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (Group Two)
A seven furlong Group 2 event for fillies, recent winners have struggled to go on to make decent three-year-olds. Speciosa and Finsceal Beo won the race back to back years in 2005 and 2006 before following up in the 1000 Guineas the next spring so this has been a solid trial for the Classics in the past. Our 2017 preview for the Rockfel Stakes is below.
Nyaleti seems a good place to start, she didn’t quite have the pace to go with the boys in the Prix Morny, so both the step down in class and back into racing against her own sex should see her in a better light. She had previously run riot in the Princess Margaret at Ascot and finished a smart second to one of the top juveniles we have seen so far this year in Clemmie. Aidan O’Brien’s filly is another to hold an entry at this early stage, but having already scored at this level, she will surely step up to take in the Moyglare Stud or Cheveley Park rather than attempt to give weight away here.
Mark Johnston also has the possibility of Lowther winner Threading representing him here. She is another who would have to carry a penalty having won at this grade, so perhaps the Cheveley Park Stakes a week after this contest would be the better option for her. She was impressive at York, travelling well before staying on in powerful fashion on quicker ground than she had won on when making her debut. Her adaptability to the surface will prove a vital tool in her development in the autumn wherever she is targeted.
Besides Clemmie, Ballydoyle have plenty of interesting entries at this stage. Happily found her stablemate getting first run on her when the pace quickened in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes last time out. Her defeat there at the hands of Magical make her the more likely of the pair to turn up given that Magical would have to carry a penalty. Before that defeat, Happily had absolutely skated up in a Group 3 contest so she looks more that ready to win at this level. She probably wouldn’t want the ground too soft as she lacked a turn of foot in the Debutante but if it were to come up good, she would have a strong chance.
Karl Burke is having a solid season once more with his juveniles, his Laurens made a smart step forward in France last time compared to her winning debut at Doncaster. The runner-up was the only one to give her a race on her debut, the pair pulling comfortably clear of the third. That second has won since to give the form a nice little boost, the way that Laurens travelled there, it was no surprise to see her go close in Group company. She is going to need another step forward, but Burke rarely over faces his charges so if she turns up in Group 2 company, that is a good sign that she is well capable of playing a role.
Tajaanus has won both on the Rowley Mile and July course this year, improving well for the step up to this seven furlong trip when winning a Listed race and a Group 3. The third in the Listed race is twice a winner since, including a Group 3 while the fourth was beaten a length further by Threading (in the Lowther) than she was by Tajaanus, but Richard Hannon’s filly has improved since. That should put her right on the tails of the principals at this level and although she might not be open to the improvement that some of the others here are, she has a great attitude which is going to help her.
To end with an interesting Irish raider, but not one representing the power of Ballydoyle, Muirin for Edward Lynam. She has been seen only the once on a racecourse thus far but the impression she made in winning a Curragh maiden in mid August was a deep one. She looks a filly for next year, a big girl with plenty of scope, she should make up into a Group performer. She is entered in Group 1’s either side of the Irish Sea with trainer Lynam saying after her win “we have always liked her…she has plenty going for her.” She may stay at home as one less experienced than the majority of these, but she is a smart filly to consider for races this autumn and beyond.