Isabella Giles is emphatic Rockfel winner

Isabella Giles continued her progression with a decisive victory in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

Successful on her first two starts at Leicester and Newbury respectively, Clive Cox’s filly came up a little short when bidding to complete the hat-trick – finishing fourth in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

However, a step up to seven furlongs for the first time saw her claim Group Three honours in impressive style in last month’s Prestige Stakes at Goodwood – and she was an 11-5 chance stepping up to Group Two level on the Rowley Mile.

Aidan O’Brien’s even-money favourite Monday was sent to the front from the off by Ryan Moore, but it was clear from the halfway stage that she was struggling – and Isabella Giles took over the lead with relative ease in the hands of Adam Kirby.

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The result was scarcely in doubt from that point, with the daughter of Belardo finishing strongly to prevail by two lengths from Nazuna.

Cox said: “It was on better ground today, and more rain wouldn’t have been a concern.

“She put up a very classy performance and has got a wonderful temperament. She settles into a lovely rhythm and she can find her own way in a race.

“She doesn’t have to lead, but she is so relaxed that finding a rhythm and setting your own fractions worked perfectly. Adam got his fractions right, and she made a good job of it.

“I think she is definitely a filly to get a mile next year, which is really exciting. I’m delighted for Clare and Paul Rooney to have such an exciting possibility as a Classic contender. I’m over the moon.”

Isabella Giles after her latest victory
Isabella Giles after her latest victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Lambourn-based trainer confirmed a return to Newmarket for the Fillies’ Mile as an option.

He added: “She is very well balanced. She has won at the track. She is a filly that has a little bit of scope, that is well balanced and has got a wonderful mind and clearly a big level of ability.

“She is in the Fillies’ Mile, but she has done pretty good this year. She wouldn’t have blown a candle out there, but we will see how she comes back.

“It was a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the Breeders’ Cup, but I’m not sure. Next year beckons over a mile, and I think we will be looking that way.”

Roger Varian was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Nazuna.

He said: “She is a lovely filly, and we were not here just to make up the numbers. I really like this filly and I’m delighted she has run up to our expectations.

“Andrea (Atzeni) thinks she will stay a mile, and there are lots of nice options – there’s the Oh So Sharp Stakes back here in a couple of weeks or there is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, which is a race we were second in with Daahyeh last year after winning this.”

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