2020 Rockfel Stakes (G2) Preview
Photo courtesy of Leopardstown Race Course's Twitter page
Courtesy of Michael Adolphson
Race: Shadwell Rockfel Stakes
Grade: Group 2
Purse: Decreased for 2020 to $102,000; $130,000 in 2019
Racecourse: Newmarket Racecourse (United Kingdom)
Win and You’re In: $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)
• First contested in 1981
• 7 furlongs on a straight turf course with some undulation
• Restricted to 2-year-old fillies
• Named after star filly Rockfel, a dual 1938 classic winner
• Often a showcase for fillies with ample speed, which is likely why it has led to so many starters in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
• Has been a Group 2 since 1998
• Its winners have landed multiple 1000 Guineas (G1) and Irish 1000 Guineas (G1), including Musical Bliss, Just The Judge, Finsceal Beo, Speciosa, Lahan and Hula Angel
• Jockeys Frankie Dettori and Michael Hills co-hold the record of four wins
• Trainer Barry Hills won this a record four times
• Jockey Ryan Moore has landed three editions over the past decade
• 1994 winner Germane produced Lucky Chappy, who finished 4th in the 2011 BC Juvenile Turf
• 2011 winner Wading produced Just Wonderful (4th, 2018 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf; 5th, 2019 BC Filly & Mare Turf) and Lost Treasure (7th, 2018 BC Turf Sprint)
• 2012 winner Just The Judge was 3rd in the 2014 BC Filly & Mare Turf
• 2013 winner Al Thakhira was 14th in the 2013 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
• 2016 winner Spain Burg was 10th in the 2016 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
• 2017 winner Juliet Capulet was 11th in the 2017 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
• 2018 winner Just Wonderful was 4th in the 2018 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf and 5th in the 2019 BC Filly & Mare Turf
• 2019 winner Daahyeh was 2nd in the 2019 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
Note: OR (Official Ratings) are provided. To give class context on those numbers, sprint superstar Lady Aurelia and champion Tepin were rated 122, Goldikova topped out at 125 and the great Enable is rated 128.
(Aidan O’Brien / Ryan Moore) – 9/5
Coolmore (Tabor, Smith & Magnier)
OR: No Rating Yet
It is true that nobody likes Mondays and on Sept. 12 (Irish Champions Weekend), barely anyone liked Monday at the windows, as the regally bred Coolmore-owned filly went off at 12/1 before coming home a smart winner of the Listed Ingabelle Stakes. By superb sire Fastnet Rock, she is the first foal of Ballydoyle (the horse), a G1 winner at two for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Ballydoyle is a sister to Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf-placed Misty for Me, who produced two Breeders’ Cup runners with three World Championships starts between them: U S Navy Flag and Roly Poly. Monday appears to be full of intrigue at this point, having just commenced her career on Sept. 3 with a fourth at Punchestown before showing her much-improved colors 11 days later. Jockey Ryan Moore will be looking for his record-tying fourth win in this race—all in the past decade. Monday also looks a serious contender to go on to the Breeders’ Cup with a big effort, especially coming from a yard that produced winners Kitty Matcham (2007), Wading (2011) and Wading’s daughter Just Wonderful (2018). Just Wonderful used a win in this as a springboard to finishing fourth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
• VIDEO: 2020 Ingabelle Stakes (Listed) – (Racing TV)
(Clive Cox / Adam Kirby) – 5/2
Paul & Clare Rooney
Isabella Giles comes into the Rockfel as one of the main players on the strength of a seven-length smashing of the G3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood on Aug. 29. With plenty of seasoning, having three wins from four starts, the daughter of freshman sire Belardo (who chased Tepin home in the 2016 Queen Anne) appears to be slightly better with a little cut in the ground, which she may not get on Friday at Newmarket. Still, she may prove to be able to make her run on any kind of ground and with how she finished four weeks ago over this distance, she is squarely the one who must be feared late in the race. She will also get an opportunity for revenge against Santosha, who defeated her two races back in the G3 Princess Margaret at Ascot.
• VIDEO: 2020 Prestige Stakes (G3) – (Racing TV)
(David Loughnane / Thomas Greatrex) – 5/1
Ms. S. Lynas
Looking for a little better racing luck this time is G3 winner Santosha, who was slowly away last out in a tough renewal of the Lowther Stakes (G2) at York on Aug. 20. Given ample time to recover, she should be respected in this spot, as she has done little wrong otherwise in her remaining three starts. Winner on debut June 26 at Lingfield, she then won at long odds two weeks later in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket. Next out, in the Princess Margaret Stakes (G3), she got a lot more respect at 5/1 and rewarded her faithful with a smart win in which she defeated Isabella Giles. Stepping up another furlong is a question, though, which is likely why she is not vying for favoritism.
Others: Alba Rose (10/1) appears an intriguing runner from the Mark Johnston yard, with only two starts and a one-sided win last out, but is stepping up considerably. Much the same can be said for Nazuna (10/1), from the always-capable yard of Roger Varian that won this last year with Daahyeh.
Synopsis: Monday announced herself to be possibly as classy as her pedigree two weeks ago on Irish Champions Weekend, but must step again against a trio of G3 winners, including the highly impressive Isabella Giles. Santosha should not be dismissed, as she has proven class and could offer some value for those watching all the replays. Alba Rose and Nazuna must step up, but are trained by masters capable of pulling off an upset any day.
- October 27, 2020
The Breeders’ Cup announced today details of a new brand awareness campaign, A Breed Apart, supported by a multi-million dollar digital and broadcast media buy to promote the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
- October 27, 2020
If beautiful grass courses and top-class international competition are elements of horse racing you find appealing, then your favorite race of the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course should surely be the $4 million, Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
- October 27, 2020
The 37th annual Breeders’ Cup is just around the corner, and a talented group of horses is set to compete Nov. 6-7. This year the event will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.