December 3, 2022

Commissioning much the best in BC WAYI Rockfel

Commissioning wins the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse (Photo by Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Following up on an impressive debut over the July Course, Commissioning was similarly convincing on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in Friday’s Rockfel (G2). The John and Thady Gosden trainee bounded to a 2 3/4-length decision and earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

Commissioning went off as the 7-2 second choice on the step up in class. The 5-2 favorite, Olivia Maralda, set the standard on form as the runner-up in the Debutante (G2). But Olivia Maralda was spent after chasing the pace and retreated to ninth in the 14-horse field.

Meanwhile, Commissioning was herself in close range on the far side, just in the wake of the 200-1 leader Ipanema Princess. Also in the vanguard were the 66-1 Sweet Harmony and the 7-1 Rage of Bamby, who took up the baton entering the final quarter-mile.

By that point, Commissioning was just beginning to unwind and reach contention. The daughter of Kingman hit top gear for Rab Havlin inside the last furlong, relishing the rising ground to draw clear. Her final time for seven furlongs on the good course, 1:24.40, was much faster than the subsequent maiden won by the odds-on colt Kolsai (1:28.11).

Electric Eyes stayed on to take second from Rage of Bamby, and Sweet Harmony held fourth. Sydneyarms Chelsea ran evenly in fifth, followed by Dance in the Grass, Rich, Dubai Jemila, Olivia Maralda, Lakota Sioux, Ipanema Princess, Eximious, Cell Sa Beela, and Leitzel.

A homebred for Isa Salman and Abdulla al Khalifa, Commissioning is now 2-for-2. John Gosden will keep options open for the Oct. 7 Fillies’ Mile (G1) back at Newmarket, and he mentioned Keeneland as a consideration in light of the “Win and You’re In” ticket.

Commissioning has plenty of stamina from her dam, the Galileo mare Sovereign Parade, who is a full sister to dual classic-winning highweight Capri as well as classic-placed Passion and fellow Group 3 scorer Cypress Creek.

Also at Newmarket Friday, Mutasaabeq responded to the addition of blinkers and wired the Joel (G2), beating comebacker El Drama and inconvenienced favorite Tempus. The Charlie Hills trainee was ending a string of frustrating losses, including near-misses in the Sandown Mile (G2) and Summer Mile (G2) and a fourth in the Aug. 27 Celebration Mile (G2).

Mutasaabeq was capping a double for Shadwell and retained rider Jim Crowley. The team captured the opening Rosemary S. with Zanbaq, who dug in to fend off Whitebeam as they edged away from favored Crystal Caprice. Zanbaq clocked the mile in 1:37.01, illustrating how Mutasaabeq got away with the Joel in 1:38.43. Trainer Roger Varian would likewise make it a double with the aforementioned maiden winner Kolsai.

The Godolphin tandem of Charlie Appleby and William Buick also racked up two wins on the card. Eternal Pearl justified 6-4 favoritism while extending her winning streak to four in the Princess Royal (G3). Rolling late in the 1 1/2-mile contest, the Frankel filly collared Peripatetic and left Sea Silk Road back in third. Eternal Pearl added to her recent scores in the Aphrodite S. and Prix Minerve (G3), and the Oct. 15 British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1) is next on the agenda.

Stablemate Siskany didn’t have to run quite as fast to become an apt winner of the Godolphin S., covering the same distance in 2:32.70 compared to Eternal Pearl’s 2:31.68. Cheekpieces helped him turn the page on a disappointing eighth in last Saturday’s Legacy Cup (G3) at Newbury, and he handily beat favorite Without a Fight.