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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Johnston team looking to Main Edition to bring her A-game in Rockfel

Main Edition: returns to Newmarket for the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes
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3.00 Newmarket
Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (Group 2) | 
7f | 2yo | ITV4/RUK

The Cambridgeshire meeting explodes into life on day two with four races televised live on ITV4, including the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes and Shadwell Joel Stakes.

Nine two-year-old fillies, headed by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Just Wonderful and Mark Johnston’s dual Group 3 scorer Main Edition, tackle the Rockfel, which has produced multiple top-class winners that include Just The Judge (2012) and Finsceal Beo (2006) in its more recent history.

Sir Michael Stoute has a particularly strong hand in the Joel – a race he last won in 2009 with Confront – courtesy of Mustashry and Regal Reality. Queen Anne Stakes hero Accidental Agent is one of three others in a small, but select field.

The big punting race of the day, the Silver Cambridgeshire, contains 20 street-wise handicappers, with Brian Ellison’s highly progressive four-year-old Little Jo, who is 6lb well-in for this early-closing race, likely to attract considerable support.

There should be something for everyone’s taste on this card, with Saturday’s feast, which includes two Group 1s – the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes and Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes – plus the £160,000 Betfred Cambridgeshire, still to come.

Can Main Edition take advantage of class drop?

Main Edition, who holds the joint-highest Official Rating (107) of the nine runners alongside Just Wonderful, takes a drop in grade after finishing fifth of ten at the Curragh last time behind Skitter Scatter in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Connections were hopeful going into that race on the back of the filly’s Group 3 wins at Ascot and Newmarket, but the spark was missing in the final two furlongs after she had set out to make all.

Charlie Johnston, assistant and son of Main Edition’s trainer Mark Johnston, said: “She ran okay in Ireland, but we’re still a bit deflated. Frankie [Dettori] felt the ground that day didn’t play to her strengths – the slightly better ground at Newmarket may help.

“She should be in the shake-up if she brings her A-game.”

Can Yourtimeisnow rack up the hat-trick?

Roger Varian’s filly Yourtimeisnow is certainly going the right way with two victories on her last two starts, including taking the Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury last time out.

This represents a significant step up in class, but the vibes from the stable suggest she remains on an upward curve and will deliver a bold display under champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

Yourtimeisnow (yellow): bids for the hat-trick

“She improved nicely to win the Dick Poole and I was impressed with her attitude in the closing stages,” Varian said.

“I think she'll stay the extra furlong no problem and the track ought to suit her. She'll need to progress again up in grade, but she’s entitled to.”

Will Canton Queen outrun her odds?

The Richard Hannon stable have drawn a blank in this race since the success of Distant Valley in 2001, but it would be no surprise if his two representatives this year outran likely big odds.

Unexposed Canton Queen brings an improving profile into the race with this just her third start, while Ajrar has by no means been disgraced in Group 3 events on her last two outings.

Hannon said: “I like Canton Queen a lot, and she improved on her debut to score very nicely at Leicester last time. She's going the right way and has a lovely attitude. I think she’ll make an excellent three-year-old, and will have no trouble in getting a mile. She looks generously priced.

“Ajrar probably bumped into a decent filly at Goodwood last time. She has a lot of experience, which will stand her in good stead, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her finish in the money.”

What the rest say

Richard Spencer, trainer of California Love
She ran below par at Newmarket last time, but scoped dirty afterwards. The ground looks to be in her favour and I’d give her a nice chance. She’s better than she showed last time.

Andrew Balding, trainer of Dutch Treat
She ran well last time. It’s a tough ask, but it looks an open race and I’m hoping she can get a place.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Just Wonderful
She's in good form and will appreciate the ground which should be better than it was when she ran in the Moyglare last time. She hasn't done much since her run at the Curragh but we're happy with her.

George Margarson, trainer of Model Guest
Her form has worked out well. I’m putting cheekpieces on her because when she hits the front she’s still a bit green – we can’t afford to take a chance in a race like this. The drop in trip will suit her and she’s been working well. She’s very talented and one of the best two-year-olds I’ve ever had. I’ll be very disappointed if she doesn’t at least get a place. She was very unlucky not to win at Ascot last time.

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She should be in the shake-up if she brings her A-game to Newmarket
E.W. Terms
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