The ITV racing team is bringing viewers action from Newmarket on Friday. There are three competitive looking Group races at flat racings headquarters with the Rockfel Stakes being the feature race at the Suffolk track.
The Listed Rosemary Stakes opens proceedings at Newmarket and it’s for fillies aged three years and upwards. Nine fillies look set to face the starter but three have standout chances. Ed Walker’s Agrotera heads the market having made an impressive start to the campaign including a snug victory in the Sandringham at the Royal meeting.
However, following a small break, she was comprehensively beaten by Unforgetable Filly in the Dick Hern Stakes when going off as an odds-on favourite. The daughter of Mastercraftsman ran much better when only going down by a head in a French listed event at Longchamp. She still has a progressive looking profile and may get her head back in front.
Hugo Palmer hasn’t run Unforgetable Filly since her aforementioned runaway victory in the Dick Hern Stakes where eight lengths separated her and the closest rival. She won last season German 1000 Guineas which is a Group 2 contest and ended the season by finishing down the field in a Group 1 at Keeneland.
If Ben Curtis can settle her off the pace and produce a turn of foot similar to her last success then her rivals will their work cut out.
The last filly of note in the field is Laugh Aloud who wasn’t since on the track until recently when finishing fourth in a brace of Group 3’s on the back of a 456-day break. John Gosden’s daughter of Dubawi won this race in 2016 and I think she will make it a second victory in this listed race.
Selection: Laugh Aloud
The first of the group races is the Nayef Stakes which is once again for the fillies and mares. Hughie Morrison has enlisted the services of Oisin Murphy on Star Rock who is a previous course and distance but has yet to get her head in front this season. A close third behind Pilaster in the Group 2 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood is some of the best form on offer and she backed this up with another runner-up finish in a Group 2 at Baden-Baden.
If Murphy can work his magic again then a first victory of the season may lie in wait for Star Rock.
Mrs Sippy has only graced the racecourse on six occasions, with the last two starts coming on French soil culminating in a listed victory at Longchamp. David Simcock’s charge started the season with a credible runner-up finish to Sea Of Class, which looks like very smart form now. There is no reason she won’t continue her upward curve and holds leading claims.
Sir Michael Stoute runs the lightly raced Sun Maiden here and if the daughter of Frankel reproduces her Royal Ascot run behind Magic Wand in the Ribblesdale. She has run disappointingly in two starts since then but with Ryan Moore back in the saddle, she may bounce back to form.
Others to consider include Crimson Rosette, the Frankie Dettori ridden Highgarden and Dramatic Queen.
Selection: Star Rock
The Group 2 Rockfel Stakes is the feature race on Friday and it sees nine promising two-year-old fillies go to post. Chief among these is the Mark Johnston trained Main Edition who has been a model of consistency all season, with victories in the Albany Stakes and Sweet Solera Stakes among the highlights. She finished fifth behind Skitter Scatter in a Group 1 at the Curragh where Just Wonderful was a further five lengths behind.
Roger Varian runs Yourtimeisnow who has won her last two starts including a Group 3 at Salisbury. All of her runs have been over six furlongs and she may just get outstayed by some of her more experienced rivals in this. That being said if she gets an easy lead and Silvestre De Sousa can kick from the front then perhaps she can nick it.
Richard Hannon has a great record with two-year-olds and his twice raced Canton Queen may be the surprise package in the race. The daughter of Shamardal finished midfield in a Newmarket maiden event and then showed improved form to stylishly land a novice event at Leicester.
Selection: Main Edition
Only five go to post in the Group 2 Joel Stakes where Mustashry looks set to go off as the hot favourite on the back of winning two of his three starts this season. This dual Group 2 winner is trained by Sir Michael Stoute and will be ridden by Jim Crowley. Another runner to hail from the Stoute stable is Regal Reality who in four career starts has won and been placed in Group Three contests. The son of Intello looks sure to progress and may give his stablemate the most to fear.
Accidental Agent heads the field and justifiably so, having won the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes in June. Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable star was well held behind Alpha Centauri when last seen in a Group 1 at Deauville. Zabeel Prince was an impressive winner of a listed race at Doncaster in March but was well beaten in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes when last seen.
The final runner in the line-up is Zonderland who is a decent group performer but seems to comes up short more often than not. This is a trappy looking event but it may well go the way of Mustashry.