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ROCKFEL PRAISED

BEST FILLY IN WOELD ASCOT GOLD CUP PROSPECTS ECLAIR AU CHOCOLAT A RIVAL Interesting remarks regarding the champion English filly and the crack French colt Eclair an Chocolat are made by the Australian writer, Mr. H. A. \Volfe ("Cardigan"), who recently visited England and France, in an article in the Melbourne Herald. "Cardigan" writes ns follows: — "Racing men in England declare that the filly Rockfcl is the best racehorse in the world. They also say that sho will win tho Ascot Gold Cup next Juno, and provo that she is the equal of Sceptre and Pretty Polly, two great mares whose deeds on the turf are almost legendary. "In France, while there is a feeling that Roekfel is extremely good, she is not expected to defeat Eclair au Chocolat, a colt by Bubbles, who last season won the Prix Rovnl Oak of 15 furlongs and the Prix do L'Arc de Triomphe of V2 furlongs from a good field of old horses. Tribute Prom Jockey "W. It. Johnstone,, tho Australian jockey who headed the winning jockeys' list in France last year, was on the dock waiting for me at Bombay, where he is holidaying, and he was loud in his praises of Eclair au Chocolat. Not that he had ridden the colt in any of his races —he is owned by one of the numerous Rothschild family—but he had ridden in races in opposition to Eclair au Chocolat, and he considers that he is quite out of the ordinary.

"I asked Johnstone to compare Noarco, who won the Grand Prix de Paris, with Eclair au Chocolat, but he would not commit himself. 'I did not see enough of Nearco, 5 was his reply. '1 Canot, who - finished second to Nearco in-the Grand Prix de Paris, and approaching the two furlongs post I thought my mount would certainly win, so easily was ho galloping. Suddenly I looked across, and wide out in tlie centre of the track I saw a horse (Nearco) streak away to the front, and, with his Italian jockey holding his reins high in the air, lie won very easily. He must be a gre.it horse, and probably has a lot of speed as well as stamina; hut Eclair au Chocolat is the typo of horse Australians would like, as he drops out of his races in the earlv stages and then wins with a wonderful run. He sendsthe French racing crowds into frenzied delight, and thev have several pet names for him, which only fall to the lot of the great.' Not Fashionably Bred "Eclair au Chocolat is a big brown colt, and he is not fashionably bred, but his sire, Bubbles, was a good horse, and is by La Farina, who was a great stayer himself. He has been entered for the Ascot Gold Cup, and the clash between Rockfel and the French horse should be one of the greatest races for the coming season in England. French horses won many of the rich handicaps in England this year, and there has been much discussion in the newspapers how to find means to resist the French invaders. " Some experienced newspaper writers declare that the English handicappers are much too lenient with horses from across the Channel, and declare that some of the big races have been handed to them by the ridiculously low weights awarded the French contenders. Others seem to think that the success of the French horses is simply a cycle that may end any time. Remarks by Lord Rosebery

"At the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association annual meeting, which was held at Newmarket during the December sale week, Lord. Kosebery in his speech to members pointed out that the Ascot Gold Cup had been won only three times in the last 60 years- by French horses and twice by American horses. He also explained that the Derby had been won infrequently by horses bred in other countries.

"In spite of the statistics, there is a real fear that too many of the rich races are going to France. Bois Roussel, the Derby winner last June, is French-bred, and "he is to be trained for the Ascot Gold Cup this year. He finished third to Nearco and Canot in the Grand Prix de Paris after winning tho English Derby, and Johnston© states that Eclair -an Chocolat is certain to beat Bois Roussel.

"Rockfel, 'the hope of the English side,' won six races last season in England. Her stake winnings amounted to £22,094, and she won among other races, the One Thousand Guineas, the Oaks and the Aintree Derby. She won most of her races in the same style—going to the front at the start and bowling along at her ease and gradually increasing the speed. "Rockfel is of interest to Australians because oi' two things. She is trained by Captain 0. M. D. Bell, who was born in Queensland, and she is a daughter of Felstead, by Spion Kop, a grandson of Carbine. Captain Bell has lived in England so long that it would hardly be fair to call him an Australian.

Captain 0. Bell Trainer "He is very well liked in racing circles and is regarded as one of tbo most, accomplished of the English trainers. • Incidentally, Bell is by 110 means a young man, and he has been training for Sir Hugo Cunliffe-Owen, the tobacco magnate, fty many seasons. Sir Hugo has had his fair share of success on the turf, but he has never before had a Rockfel, although he won tho Derby with Felstead, and Orpheus was a good horse that won him many races some seasons ago.

"Rockfel is one of those truf freaks which appear occasionally to confound everybody and cause many set theories to vanish like snow before the sun. For instance, she ran in a selling race as a two-year-old. What a gift sho would have been for somebody who had second sight! Not that the would-be buyer would have secured her for a small sum, but it is unlikely that at this time her owner, or trainer, had any idea of Rockfel's amazing galloping ability. A Plain Filly

"Rockfel, too, is unlike the champion racehorse beloved of the fiction writer. She is not commanding nor lias she a noble presence .On the contrary sho is a plain filly with a lot of white about (the Carbine influence) and rather a ewe neck, while she is long in the back and has very square liips. Sho is. however, powerful behind the saddle, and this allied with a perfect action —she simply skims over the ground—makes up for her lack of good looks. "Great racehorses in England rarely race alter three years of age, but Rockfel may race on until, she is five. The reason being that Sir Hugo CunlilfeOwen like.s to see his colours carried in important events, lie is very keenly interested in breeding, but, as lie confided to a friend recently, it may happen that he will never got another good horse in his lifetime, and he wants to have as much pleasure as possible in watching Hockfel race in the best company. "One can only hope for the sake of English bloodstock that Rockfel is fit and well on Ascot Gold Cup day and that she is able to follow in the footsteps of that great marc Quashed and heat the French and American horses. There is too much talk of the decadent English racehorse, but it is noteworthy that buyers from all over the world still attend the important sales there to buy . bloodstock to improve racing and breeding in their respective countries." j

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19390211.2.41

Bibliographic details

ROCKFEL PRAISED, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVI, Issue 23269, 11 February 1939

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1,271

ROCKFEL PRAISED New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVI, Issue 23269, 11 February 1939

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