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Just The Judge

Just The Judge was impressive in winning the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes on Future Champions Day at Newmarket on Saturday, she is unbeaten in three starts now and she is surely destined for even greater things.

There was a lot of talk about how unlucky the well-backed Nargys was, and she did encounter some traffic problems close to the stands rail, but Just The Judge had done a lot of running to engineer a winning position for herself from stall three, and she kept on strongly all the way to the line. Having raced three or four horses off the stands rail, she picked up immediately when Michael Hills pulled her outside of Scintillula two and a half furlongs out, hitting the front and there to be shot at through the final quarter mile, but she kept on strongly all the way to the line. Having got out of trouble and closed initially, Nargys wasn’t really making any further impression late on. Despite horses trying to come at her on both sides, Just The Judge ran straight and true to the line, and was well on top at the finish.

There are a couple of things to note when assessing this performance. Firstly, Charlie Hills said that the Lawman filly hadn’t been at her best since her last run in August, she had scoped badly after that and had completely gone in her coat before Saturday, so he was in two minds whether to run her or not. Secondly, when interviewed after the race, her jockey Michael Hills compared her favourably with the two Irish 1000 Guineas winners he has ridden, Nicer and Hula Angel. Even when speaking this week about his decision to retire at the end of the season, he said how this filly had really tempted him to stay on. That is a measure of how highly they regard her.

There is no real telling how good Just The Judge could be. Her first two wins had been quite cosy, coming from quite far back to hit the front inside the final furlong, but this performance was much more authoritative. It is possible that she is better with some ease in the ground as she had here, a trait that some of her sire’s progeny share, but that is not conclusive at this stage, she had done well to beat the colts in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury on her previous run on quick ground. She is a big filly and she could improve significantly through the winter. A mile certainly shouldn’t be a problem for her, either on her pedigree or on her racing style over this stiff seven furlongs on easy ground, and 20/1 about her for the 1000 Guineas at this stage does look big. Speciosa and Finsceal Beo both won the Rockfel before going on to win the 1000 Guineas in recent years.

13th October 2012