WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL: Shadwell Rockfel Preview
Courtesy of Ren Carothers (@RenCarothers)
A field of nine fillies will be going postward in the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes, a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series race offering berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The girls will be going seven furlongs across the pond at Newmarket, and the American-bred Just Wonderful, may just get the job done for trainer Aidan O'Brien and rider Ryan Moore as her mother, Wading, did in 2011.
Here’s a closer, pedigree-focused look at the field:
Ajrar – Her sire, Nayef, is a four-time Gr1 winner, and she’s a half sister to Rajar, who won the British EBF Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Stakes at Newmarket, and placed nine times, including third place finishes in the Prix Yacowlef, UAE 1000 Guineas, UAE 1000 Guineas Trial, and Charlton Hunt Nursery Fillies’ Stakes. Ajrar’s dam was a winner at three-years-old, and is by Gr1 sprinter Invincible Spirit.
California Love – This miss is by Power, a multiple Gr1 winning miler, whose scores include the Irish 2,000 Guineas, National and Coventry Stakes. Her dam is a daughter of Captain Rio, a top rated two- year-old in Britain with wins in the Welfare Stakes, Gold Trophy, and the Gr2 Criterium de Maisons Lafitte. While there isn’t a ton of black-type close up in her pedigree, the branches do extend to the likes of European champion older horse and Horse of the Year in 1999 Daylami, whose impressive record includes the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and 2003’s champion three-year-old and Horse of the Year in Europe, Dalakhani, whose wins include the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Canton Queen – Her sire, Shamardal, was Cartier Champion two-year-old colt in 2004 and a multiple Gr1 winner at three, with triumphs in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club, and St. James’s Palace Stakes. Her dam, Hana Lina, is a daughter of 2003 Cartier champion sprinter Oasis Dream and 2001’s champion two-year-old filly, Queen’s Logic. This makes Hana Lina a half sister to multiple Gr2W/Gr1P Lady of the Desert, whose wins include the Gr2 Diadem Stakes (now the British Champions Sprint) and Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot. Lady of the Desert later produced Gr2 Lowther Stakes winner Queen Kindly. This deep family also includes Queen’s Logic’s half siblings Dylan Thomas, champion three-year-old in Europe in 2006 and older horse the following year, and Gr1 1000 Guineas winner Homecoming Queen.
Dandhu - She’s by Dandy Man, a top rated sprinter in England and Ireland in 2006, and out of Poldhu, an unraced daughter of Cape Cross, winner of the 1998 Gr1 Lockinge and 1999 Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes. Poldhu is a half sister to Rajeem, who won the Gr1 Falmouth Stakes and later produced Gr3 winner Invincible Army. Dandhu’s second dam is a full sister to Hoh Magic, who was a highweight filly in Europe, with wins including the Gr1 Prix Morny.
Dutch Treat – Her sire, Dutch Art, was a multiple Gr1 winning sprinter, taking the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and the Prix Morny at Deauville. He also won the Gr2 Norfolk at Royal Ascot. Her stakes placed dam, Syann, is by the aforementioned champion and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner of 1999, Daylami. Syann is a three-quarters sister to Prix Urban Sea victor Ivy League, and is out of Hedera, who was third in the Rosemary Rated Handicap at Ascot. Dutch Treat’s third dam, Ivrea, was second in the Gr2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, and third in the Gr2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock, as well as the Gr3 Musidora Stakes at York. This family also includes Ivyanna, winner of the Gr1 Oaks d’Italia, Upperline, who won the G3 Arlington Matron, G3 Arlington Oaks, and G3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland, and Golden Temper, winner of the G3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Just Wonderful - Her sire, Gr2 winner Dansili, was a neck third in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile, in which War Chant triumphed, and her dam, Wading, won the Gr2 Rockfel Stakes in 2011 for these same connections. Wading’s sire, Montjeu, was named European champion three-year-old colt in 1999 after a campaign which included Gr1 wins in the Irish Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and he racked up three more Gr1 victories at four. Wading’s full sister, Bracelet, won the Gr1 Irish Oaks and Gr2 Ribblesdale Stakes. Wading also has three-quarter sister whose name you might know, as she recently won the G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational – Athena. The most intriguing thing about this pedigree, however, is that Just Wonderful’s grandmother, Cherry Hinton, is a half sister to accomplished runners All Too Beautiful, Black Sam Bellamy, My Typhoon, and, oh yes, 2001’s Cartier champion three-year-old colt and superstar sire, Galileo. This, as you might surmise, means Cherry Hinton is also a three-quarter sister to stakes winner Born to Sea and 2009’s Cartier Horse of the Year, Sea the Stars, making Just Wonderful’s great-grandmother Urban Sea, who won the Arc in 1993.
Main Edition - Her sire, Zoffany, won what is now known as the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes, before going on to win the Gr3 Tyro and Gr1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes. Her dam is a daughter of Ireland’s champion two-year-of 1985, Woodman, and she produced half brothers Major Cadeaux, who is a Gr2 winner and Gr1 placed, and stakes winner Beachfire. Main Edition’s second dam is millionaire Capades, with whom you may be familiar, having won the G1 Selima, G2 Matchmaker, and setting a new course record of 1:58.40 for 1-1/4 miles in the G2 New York Handicap.
Model Guest – She’s a daughter of Showcasing, who won the Gr2 Gimcrack stakes at two-years-old in course record time. He was also second in the Gr2 Duke of York and third in the Gr1 Middle Park Stakes. Her dam is a daughter of 1995’s champion two-year-old colt in Ireland, Danehill Dancer, who won the Gr1 Phoenix and Gr1 National Stakes, and a full sister to stakes winners Venturi and Feels All Right. Venturi won the Gr3 C L Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh and picked up some stakes placings in New York, running second in both the Pebbles at Belmont and Lake George at Saratoga. Feels All Right won the Prix de Suresnes at Chantilly and was third in the Gr1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud, as well as the G2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. The family includes Osunitas Stakes winner Flying Girl (who was also second in the Gr1 Oaks d’Italia and third in the G3 Modesty), and her daughter Mary Kies, whose record includes a win in the Hidden Light Handicap at Santa Anita and third place finish in the G3 Miesque at Hollywood Park.
Yourtimeisnow – Her sire, Charm Spirit, was rated behind Kingman at a mile on turf at three-years-old and is the highest earning son of the aforementioned Invincible Spirit, with wins including the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II, Gr1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Gr1 Chantilly Prix Jean Prat. She’s out of Maid for Winning, a daughter of Gone West. He won the G1 Dwyer, G2 Withers, and G2 Gotham in 1987. While Maid for Winning was actually unplaced, she is a half sister to Stroll, whose victories include the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, G2 Jamaica Handicap, G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap, and G3 Calder Derby. Her other half brother, Patrol, was a three-time stakes winner and was third in the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, as well as the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Yourtimeisnow has two graded-stakes placed siblings, G2P Hors de Combat and G3P Stroll Patrol. Other notable relations in the female family include Royal Lodge winner Gairloch, Grassy, a multiple G2W who was also second in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and multimillionaire Lea, who set a new track record winning the G1 Donn in 1:48.86 and capped his career with a second place finish to Liam’s Map in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
That is your field for the 2018 edition of the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes. Just Wonderful may prove heir to its title, but it won’t be a walkover. Should she prevail, however, it would be just wonderful to see her contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on #FutureStarsFriday at Churchill Downs.
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