Lucida rocks in Rockfel
Jim Bolger's raider Lucida justified even-money favouritism in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.
Second to Cursory Glance in the Moyglare Stud Stakes just 12 days ago, she appeared to be going nowhere back in fourth when the field entered the dip, and had to work harder than her odds might have suggested.
For a few strides it looked as if Sheikh Hamdan was going to win the race he sponsors as Fadhayyil hit the front, despite still looking green, but on meeting the rising ground Lucida seemed much more at home and Kevin Manning always looked confident he would hit the front.
Lucida pulled a length clear of Fadhayyil, with another two lengths back to New Providence in third.
Paddy Power cut Lucida into 10-1 from 14s for the Qipco 1000 Guineas.
Bolger said: "You're always a bit concerned when they are coming back quickly, but I was hoping she could show the same level of form.
"I was always happy enough, as I know she has a very relaxed way of racing. Kevin had to just niggle her along a little bit, but I knew she would pick up for him. I expected when she hit the rising ground that she would pick up.
"I'll have to talk to John Ferguson (Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor), she was no more than 50-50 to run in the Fillies' Mile. I think she will get a mile and I'd say the Guineas will be her big target."
Finsceal Beo won both the Rockfel and the Guineas for the stable and Bolger added: "I thought before today this filly had a little more toe that Finsceal Beo, but possibly not. I don't think there is a lot between the two."
Hills said of the runner-up: "She is probably still a bit green. She quickened up well, she pricked her ears in front and got slightly unbalanced on a couple of occasions.
"I think it's unlikely she'll run again this year but, if she does, it'll be in the Fillies' Mile. I would have thought she'll go straight to the 1000 Guineas."
Palmer had supplemented New Providence and he said: "She's run a cracking race. We were a little further back than Jim (Crowley) wanted to be.
"Our plan was to stalk Lucida and try and use the turn of foot she might not have, but then we had to have a rethink because we were further back than ideal. She quickened up beautifully going into the dip and stayed on well.
"She just got the seven here and we'll be hoping for a dry spring and start her off in the Fred Darling Stakes. If she won that, it would be very difficult not to come back here (for the Guineas), but my instinct is that she's a six- or seven-furlong filly."