Commissioning 6-1 for Guineas after scooping Rockfel rewards

Fri 23 Sep 2022

By Graham Clark

Commissioning (7-2) made it two wins from as many starts when recording a comfortable victory in today’s Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket.

Homebred by owners Abdulla Al-Khalifa & Isa Salman, the Kingman filly had won in stylish fashion on debut over seven furlongs on the July Course at the end of July. She became a third Rockfel Stakes winner for trainer John Gosden, who now trains in partnership with his son Thady, following on from subsequent 1000 Guineas heroine Lahan in 1999 and Juliet Capulet in 2017.

In today’s contest Commissioning picked up leader Rage Of Bamby entering the final furlong and stayed on well under Rab Havlin to repel the late challenge of Electric Eyes for a smooth two and three-quarter length success.

John Gosden said: “We wanted to give her a bit of time after that (debut on the July Course) as she was growing and she is not a big heavy robust filly. She has trained nicely up to this race and we thought we would wait for this race as opposed to going for the May Hill.

“We are thrilled with her. She is owned by an owner-breeder Isa Salman and he owned the mare and he had her with us. It is always very exciting when you buy a mare, and she raced, she ran in a Ribblesdale and finished seventh then she produces something so quickly like this it is very fulfilling for an owner-breeder.

“Frankie was surprised (on debut) as he said he couldn’t pull her up as she went all the way to the very end and it was quick ground there to. She was just getting rolling with a furlong to go there, and it was slightly the same today she met the rising ground and flew. The July Course is much easier for the horse to handle and there are certain reasons for that.

“It (the Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile on October 8th at Newmarket) comes quickly but she doesn’t have to run again. It is close to home and we are not travelling the length and breadth of the country. If she is happy and well we might look at it. She will get that mile. There is also a Breeders’ Cup invitation. We did that before we went to Del Mar with a filly that won this (Juliet Capulet). She didn’t stay a mile but this one will.”

Rab Havlin added: “She travelled lovely today. Between the three and the two I had to waken her up a bit and almost got into trouble by getting there too soon, so I just sat there at the two pole.

“When she picked up it was kind of immediate and I got a bit lonely in front. She would stay a mile no problem this filly. I ride her quite a lot at home and we’ve always thought that as she finishes her work strongly. She can be busy in the mornings but is uncomplicated at the races. She can be a bit impatient on the gallops but after half a furlong, she is pretty push button.

“The boss and Thady give horses time when they need time. It looked as if she needed time so we just laid off her and picked her back in the last month. The rewards are showing for themselves.”

Karl Burke, trainer of runner-up Electric Eyes, said: “She is a very good filly and that is why we came here. She is a potentially high class filly and she has proved that today. She got a little bit sandwiched coming out of the stalls Danny (Tudhope) and we didn’t want to be that far back.

“She is quite a keen travelling horse and she always wants a bit of cover. There is plenty of improvement in her. I’d say we won’t run again. She is an inexperienced filly but she is a big raw filly and this time of the year I don’t want to run her back quick and we are running out of options.

“The Group Three (Oh So Sharp Stakes) in two weeks will come too quick but I’ve not looked beyond that. Why not (think of the 1000 Guineas). The horse that finished second in this last year didn’t do too bad in the 1000 Guineas (Cachet). She is a good filly and a progressive filly.”

Eve Johnson Houghton, who saddled the third Rage Of Bamby, said: “She was third in a Group Two which was great but I definitely think she was the second best horse in the race.

“I think she had been softened up by the winner and the second horse came and got her. Possibly we need to drop her back in trip as she had them all cooked a furlong out and I’m not sure she stayed the seven furlongs 100 per cent in that company.”

Mutasaabeq clicks in Joel Stakes

The application of blinkers had the desired effect for Mutasaabeq as the talented miler led from pillar to post in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

A winner at Thirsk on his seasonal reappearance in April, the Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old went on to be placed in the bet365 Mile at Sandown and the Diomed at Epsom before being beaten a nose by Chindit in the Summer Mile at Ascot.

Mutasaabeq’s frustrating run continued when only fourth as a hot favourite for the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on his most recent outing, but he came good on the Rowley Mile under Jim Crowley.

A smart start took the 5-2 chance straight to the lead and he was able to control the pace throughout.

El Drama was always his pursuer throughout and ran a fine race on his first competitive appearance in 13 months, but Mutasaabeq found enough for pressure to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

Tempus, the 5-4 favourite to notch a fourth successive win, could be counted a shade unlucky in third having missed the break and been caught in a pocket before staying on late in the day.

Hills said: “He’d worked twice in the blinkers, we were happy with him so why not try it? He had a nice easy time of it in front and he has won here twice before, so he obviously likes it.

“He’s in the Challenge Stakes in a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how he is. He’s run two mediocre races at Goodwood so probably won’t go back there again, while at Sandown he was a little unlucky. He’s run some solid races this year.

“He’s a very sound horse and it’s nice to win a race like this with him. He just seems to enjoy it here, he’s won here three times now and is a horse with a nice action.”

Pearl shows her value

Eternal Pearl set herself up for a deserved first tilt at Group One level after extending her winning to four races when demonstrating that stamina is very much her forte when staying on best of them all in the Princess Royal Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Stakes.

The Frankel filly has not looked back since opening her account at Kempton Park in June after adding a second Group Three to her name having scored at the same level in Deauville last month in the Prix Minerve.

Victory looked to be heading the way of the Roger Varian-trained Peripatetic, who appeared to slip the field under Ryan Moore entering the closing stages of the mile and half prize.

Despite looking to still have plenty of work to do the 6-4 Favourite started to eat up the ground inside the final furlong before forging past Peripatetic inside the final 100 yards and prevailing by three quarters of a length.

Following the race Eternal Pearl was trimmed from 10-1 into 8-1 by Paddy Power for the Group One QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 15 which Appleby confirmed would be her next target.

Appleby said: “She is a lovely big scopey filly by Frankel and they stay for fun. The one thing she has needed to do is develop to allow her to be strong enough to stay the way she is doing now.

“She is not the quickest from the gates and she has to warm into the race. At half way I thought William is going to have to find some gaps from where he was as they are all nice fillies and they were travelling away and quickening at the same time.

“One thing she does is stay well as we saw once she hit the rising ground and hit top gear. She is not a slogger, she quickens and you could visibly see that once she hit the rising ground.

“She is doing it all the right way round. It has always been my plan to come here as we missed the Vermeille to get some more confidence and experience behind her to look at the Fillies and Mares.”

While a trip to Ascot next month now beckons for Eternal Pearl the Godolphin handler confirmed that she will stay in training at four.

He added: “She will stay in training next year. To be fair to William he mentioned when she broke her maiden it is all next year with this filly.

“That is why I’ve not gone to the sword at Group One level with her.”

Following the race winning rider William Buick was confident Eternal Pearl would be able to step up to Group One level.

Buick added: “She just warms into her races and showed a good turn of foot there. She has got a great attitude and that is another step up from what she has done. She is progressing the whole time.

“I absolutely think she can step up again. I am not sure what the plan is but the Fillies and Mares on Champions Day would be considered over a mile and a half I would think. She wouldn’t want extremes of ground but she seems to handle a bit of cut.”

Siskany bounces back

Siskany earned a return ticket to Dubai after putting his role as lead horse to last year’s Derby hero Adayar to one side when enjoying a moment centre stage himself with victory in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Godolphin Stakes at Newmarket today.

Having failed to feature when sent off favourite for a Group Three at Newbury just six days ago the gelded son of Dubawi made a triumphant quick turnaround on his first start against Listed opposition since scoring at the same level at Meydan back in January.

Sporting first time cheekpieces the 11-4 chance steadily worked his way into contention before prevailing by two and a quarter lengths to complete an 8.3-1 double for jockey William Buick and Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby.

The winning trainer said: “What Will said is that he loves cover and that he could have sat longer but I thought I better start to make a race of this now.

“We were disappointed on the last run to be brutally honest as this horse had been leading Adayar in all his work, so we went to Newbury quietly confident.

“It was one of those strange run races as they went like the clappers and Adam (Kirby) sat out there stuck on the wing.

“We applied the cheekpieces this time and stuck him in behind and that brought out the best of him. He is a handy horse..

“He will probably come back out to Dubai again and join the team now. It is nice to get his head back out in front before he goes back out there as he has been doing plenty of donkey work at home.

“He has done a great job at home and now paid his way here.”

Kolsai strikes for Varian

It is not often a trainer is happy to taste defeat but Roger Varian believed it might have been a blessing that Kolsai (10-11 Favourite) was beaten first time out after putting that experience to good use in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai British EBF ‘Confined’ Maiden Stakes.

Having filled the runner-up spot on at Leicester 17 days ago the well-bred son of Oasis Dream went one better when rallying well late on to defeat debutant Greatest Time by half a length to give jockey David Egan his 50th winner of the season and hand Varian a 7-1 double on the day.

Varian, who was earlier on the mark with Zanbaq, said: “He was unlucky (first time) but these things happen for a reason. If they get beaten you can come back for a novice or a maiden. He has done that properly.

“He got a nice bit of cover and he finished the race off well. A good mention goes to Matthew Henry who has done a fantastic job with him over the last six to eight weeks.

“He will be better for a mile but I do like him.

“I’m not sure (about another run) as he is a big baby and is still learning. I don’t want to say he will have another run as he might over do what he has done so far.

“He might be one to do well over the winter and might do well next year.”

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