Rockfel Stakes: Clive Cox hoping Isabella Giles can continue progression

Thu 24 Sep 2020

Clive Cox is looking for Isabella Giles to continue on an upward curve in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

The two-year-old was last seen winning the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, where she finished seven lengths ahead of Charlie Hills’ Prado in testing conditions.

That was a third win in four starts for the daughter of Belardo, having also prevailed in her first two racecourse appearances at Leicester and Newbury.

Isabella Giles scored at Goodwood last time out

“She was a very impressive winner in the Prestige,” Cox said.

“I was happy to see that Newmarket got some decent rainfall last night.

“She’s in excellent form and we very much hope that she can continue her progression, all being well.”

Prior to Goodwood, Isabella Giles was fourth in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot, suffering her only defeat to date when beaten a length and a half by David Loughnane’s Santosha.

The two fillies clash again on Friday, with Santosha also declared for the Rockfel and Thomas Greatrex due to take the ride.

Loughnane is hoping his charge can bounce back from a disappointing effort when a distant eighth behind Miss Amulet in the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York.

“We’re always hopeful for a big run, she’s a lovely filly,” he said.

“I think the race has probably come about four or five days too soon – in an ideal world I’d prefer it if it was later.

“She’s had a nice little freshen up after the Lowther, she looks great and she’s done really well after a little break. We’ll roll the dice and take our chance.”

Loughnane has no reservations about the step up in distance, with the filly tackling the seven-furlong trip for the first time after being campaigned exclusively over six furlongs so far.

“We’ve always felt she was going to be a stronger filly over seven,” he said.

“That was always the plan throughout the year – we’ve been working up to seven all season.”

Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista sets the standard in the Group Three Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes.

Alpinista finished second behind Love in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks last time out

An impressive winner of the Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury on her penultimate start, the daughter of Frankel was last seen beating all bar the brilliant Love in the Yorkshire Oaks, having since missed the Park Hill at Doncaster.

Alpinista is one of four three-year-olds in a six-strong line-up, along with the John Gosden-trained Franconia, Sir Michael Stoute’s Katara and Queen Daenerys from Roger Varian’s yard.

The two older fillies in contention are the William Haggas-trained Sea Of Faith – winner of a Listed race in France last week – and Ralph Beckett’s Antonia De Vega, who has not been seen in competitive action since landing a Listed prize at Pontefract in June.

A 17-strong field go to post for the Listed Tasleet British EBF Rosemary Stakes.

Leading contenders include the long-absent Ummalnar from the Haggas yard, Andrew Balding’s Bounce The Blues and Richard Hannon’s Cloak Of Spirits.

The latter kicked off the campaign with a runner-up finish behind Love in the 1000 Guineas, but has failed to better that performance in four subsequent outings.

“Cloak Of Spirits is in good form. She was a little bit disappointing at Doncaster last time out (fifth in Sceptre Stakes), but I think this race will be nice for her as it is a drop down to Listed level,” said Hannon.

“She has been second in a Guineas and placed two other times at Group-race level – she has run good races.

“It is a little bit disappointing she hasn’t won yet this year, so it would be good if she could take advantage in a Listed race like this.

“It gives you a little bit more confidence that she has run well here before as well.”

Listed honours are also up for grabs in the Eqtidaar Godolphin Stakes, which features a trio of Godolphin runners in Charlie Appleby’s pair of Loxley and Walton Street and Saeed bin Suroor’s Volcanic Sky.

Laafy (Stoute), Aloe Vera (Beckett) and Golden Pass (Hugo Palmer) are the other hopefuls.

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