Just the Judge rules in Rockfel; Aaim to Prosper makes Cesarewitch history
Like the top-class colts Dawn Approach and Reckless Abandon, the juvenile filly Just the Judge preserved an unbeaten record when she registered a gutsy 1 3/4-length success in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket Saturday.
Trained by Charlie Hills and ridden by Michael Hills, Just the Judge found plenty in the closing stages to hold safe the belated challenge of Nargys.
"She won like a nice filly and Michael said she still had another gear," the winning trainer said. "She has gone away again when she hit the rising ground."
Just the Judge was coming off a victory over males in the Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury.
"She has gone in her coat and had a bad scope following her last run," Charlie Hills revealed, "and we had thought of not running today, but I am delighted we decided to give it one more go.
"It helps enormously to have a filly in the yard like her going into the winter."
Just the Judge, a daughter of Lawman from the immediate family of Group 3 heroine and classic-placed High Heeled, could set her sights on the Group 1 One Thousand Guineas on May 5.
"This filly has a lovely pedigree," said David Redvers, bloodstock advisor to joint-winning owners Qatar Racing. "She has size, scope and is bred to improve."
Redvers also had news of Hydrogen, the 2.5 million guineas sales-topper at Tattersalls this week. He purchased the Galileo half-brother to the 2007 Group 1 Derby winner Authorized on behalf of Qatar Racing.
"The colt has gone to Tweenhills Stud and will be broken in by the former jump jockey Graham McCourt. There will be a yearling parade for the Sheikhs on November 18 when it will be announced who will train the horse. Someone is going to look scared and happy at the same time!"
Lawman was responsible for the exacta, for runner-up Nargys is by the same sire. Second in a Doncaster handicap last time out, she pleased her trainer Luca Cumani on the class hike.
"She ran very well," Cumani said. "She was a bit unlucky because she couldn't come out when she wanted to. She had a couple of horses in front of her bringing her back whilst the winner went clear, then when she got a gap she flew. I am delighted with her.
"That will be it for this year but it would be nice to think she will be a One Thousand Guineas filly."
Also at Newmarket, Aaim to Prosper made history by becoming the first horse to win the Cesarewitch twice. The venerable 2 1/4-mile handicap was founded in 1839, and Aaim to Prosper defied the burden of history as well as the top weight of 136 pounds.
The eight-year-old previously won the marathon heritage handicap in 2010 and having not entered the winner's enclosure since, was returned at 66-1. Partnered by Kieren Fallon, Aaim to Prosper raced prominently and stayed on well close home to score by a half-length from the 7-1 favorite Countrywide Flame.
"He won the race before, so why couldn't he win it again?" trainer Brian Meehan noted. "Although he hadn't won since he won this race two years ago, he had been campaigned in Pattern and stakes company.
"Kieren Fallon said when the horse ran here the last day that he would appreciate some cut in the ground and that has obviously made a huge difference.
"He is a good horse and good horses can always come back and do it again. This horse is all heart and has won today despite being 20 pounds higher (in the official ratings) than two years ago. He has been committed and stayed on well, as he did two years ago.
"Kieren has given him a wonderful ride,. He rode him here a fortnight ago and understands him."
"Aaim to Prosper was off the bridle the whole way," Fallon said. "Even leaving the stalls, I was having to push and scrub to hold my position. He is as tough as nails and he really wanted it.
"The key was the cut in the ground -- it is very important to him.
"When Jimmy (Quinn on Countrywide Flame) came to me, I thought he was going to go past. But mine has done it well and good.
"He responded very well in the final furlong. He really, really tries hard."
Trainer Mark Johnston was delighted following the victory of the tough and prolific Fulbright in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes. The three-year-old son of Exceed and Excel, who was making his 12th appearance of 2012, battled gamely in the final furlong under Joe Fanning and overhauled longtime leader Red Jazz by a neck.
Fulbright was winning for the first time in Group company, and rebounding from a poor effort at Redcar on October 6.
"The horse astounds me," Johnston said. "When the stable had a bad patch in July, he was the shining beacon for us and last time out at Redcar was the only time he has run disappointingly.
"Deirdre (the trainer's wife) said the horse was a bit on edge and sweated badly when he disappointed at Redcar last time. He got warm again today and was difficult to saddle, so I thought he had maybe had too many runs this season. As it turned out, today was his best run yet.
"I don't know if he will run again this season but I don't think he will. We will go home with him and speak to the boss.
"As he has been on the go all the season, he just canters at home and doesn't show much. I doubt he has had a gallop at home since about April.
"He has been full of pleasant surprises all the way."
Red Jazz very nearly pulled off the wire job, only being passed by Fulbright in the closing stages.
"Red Jazz has run a blinder," trainer Charlie Hills said. "It was just unfortunate that he did all the hard work and was caught near the line. That is racing I suppose.
"We will see what the handicapper does with his rating and there is a possibility he could go for the Dubai Carnival early next year."
Jockey Michael Hills picked up a two-day ban for his ride on Red Jazz, the stewards citing him for using his whip above the permitted level. The ban takes effect on October 29-30.
Mull of Killough, who was beaten three-quarters of a length when runner-up in the Cambridgeshire a fortnight ago, gained handsome consolation when landing the Group 3 Darley Stakes over the same course and nine-furlong distance.
With Joseph O'Brien aboard, the six-year-old stayed on courageously to see off all challengers and at the finish had three lengths to spare over Saigon.
"He has been an unlucky horse as he has finished runner-up in two big handicaps this season (the Cambridgeshire and the Lincoln)," trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said.
"He had his best period of training between the Cambridgeshire and today. He has always had problems with his feet and it has been a great effort from my assistant Abi Harrison and the farrier Colin to keep him going.
"After winning this race the Lincoln next year is going to be out for him, so I think we could look at the (Group 3) Winter Derby at Lingfield instead.
"Joseph rode him last time and is a Group 1 class jockey so it made sense to use him again," she added.
James Toller's tough campaigner Saigon again found one too good, and could make his next appearance in the upcoming Tattersalls Horses in Training sale.
"We have a tough decision to make as he is entered in the sales," Toller said. "I am delighted today; it was a very good run. He's been consistent all year and is nearly there.
"He's the most genuine, tough horse and has never had a break and has never run a bad race. He's had a few times when things haven't gone right for him. He looked there that he might get a mile and a quarter."
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