Rockfel Stakes Betting

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Future Champions Day is a brand new race day that has bee added to the calendar at Newmarket Racecourse in early October. It brings together six thrilling Group races—two each of Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3—plus the totesport.com Cesarewitch long distance handicap. One of these events is the £80,000 Rockfel Stakes, a Group 2 flat horse race open to two-year-old Thoroughbred fillies.

This seven-furlong sprint is run on the straight turf of Newmarket’s acclaimed Rowley Mile, the so-called “Course of Champions.” Each starter carries eight stone twelve pounds, with a penalty of four pounds applied to any winner of a prior Group 1 or Group 2 race.

Joining the Rockfel Stakes on the one-day card is the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, a six-furlong dash for two-year-old colts and geldings which used to be run during the Cambridgeshire Meeting. Also transferred here is the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, which was previously run at Ascot.

Another event here for two-year-olds is the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, which, like the Rockfel Stakes, was previously contested on Champions’ Day, the second day of Newmarket’s two-day Champions’ Meeting, now cancelled. This gathering of so many opportunities for juveniles is the reason the new meeting has been named “Future” Champions Day, giving handicappers a good look at next season’s aspiring champions.

The naming of the Rockfel Stakes dates back to its inception in 1981, commemorating a filly named Rockfel that won two Classics in 1938. This race received Listed status in 1985 and gained the Group 3 level the following year.

Bottisham Heath Stud was one of the earliest sponsors of the Rockfel Stakes through 1990. In 1993, Tattersalls took up the title role. They were replaced in 1995 by Greene King, and then Owen Brown came on the scene in 1997 and remained in place till 2005. It was during this period, in 1998, that the status of the event was elevated to Group 2.

Sponsorship in recent years has been spotty. In 2006-09 there were four different title holders—“In The Pink,” seriousquitters.co.uk, Countrywide Steel & Tubes and Lotus Evora. Since 2010, the Rockfel Stakes has gone without a primary sponsor.

Although no filly gets an opportunity to repeat in the Rockfel Stakes, several have gone on to win the following year’s 1,000 Guineas Stakes. Finsceal Beo was the most recent to do so, winning the two here in 2006-07 and also taking the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 2007.

Among jockeys, Michael Hills counts the most victories here with three. He got his first success aboard Negligent in 1989 and followed up with wins on Hula Angel in 1998 and Maids Causeway in 2004. The top trainer is his father Barry Hills, who schooled all three of those winners plus Yawl ridden by Darryll Holland in 1992.

Handicappers looking for trends in the Rockfel Stakes might want to avoid favourites and back a few Irish entries at long odds. In 2005, Speciosa came from the Emerald Isle to win at 20/1 odds. In 2007, the Irish filly Kitty Matcham paid 10/1 and in 2008 Ireland’s Lahaleeb delivered a lovely 11/1. The following year, their compatriot Music Show did backers one better by finishing first at 25/1.

Cochabamba, another Irish filly running at 12/1, gave the grandstands a thrill in 2010. She challenged favoured I Love Me all the way but eventually came in runner-up, losing by half a length to 7/2 Cape Dollar (also Irish). Finsceal Beo was the last favourite to triumph in the Rockfel Stakes, paying 9/4. As might be guessed, she was a product of Ireland, too.

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