Wild Illusion enters Classic equation as Appleby strikes again
Last year Wuheida, this time Wild Illusion. Charlie Appleby is fast becoming the trainer to follow in the Group 1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac.
On paper, the chances of a repeat success had looked slim at best, with Wild Illusion beaten fair and square by the reopposing Soustraction over course and distance four weeks ago. At that stage Wild Illusion was without a Boussac entry and she would hardly have been a glaring omission had she stayed put in Newmarket.
However, Appleby has seen an improvement in her form at home and after a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed the call was made to roll the dice and supplement.
Under a positive James Doyle ride, that gamble paid off spectacularly, as the daughter of Dubawi led early in the home straight before staying on stoutly for a 25-1 success over the previously unbeaten Polydream.
“She came forward a lot for her last run and we were delighted with her at home," said Appleby. "I spoke to his highness in depth about her and he said, 'Go for it, if you're happy with the horse'."
Ensuring all the bases were covered, Wild Illusion sported first-time cheekpieces, which seemed to work a treat as she travelled with zest from the off.
“We put the cheekpieces on because we felt stepping up to this level we wanted to keep the concentration; nothing more than that," said the trainer.
"She's as genuine as the day is long and is a lovely filly with a great pedigree. I’m thankful Sheikh Mohammed gave us permission to supplement and he’s been repaid with another Group 1-winning daughter of Dubawi.”
Ill health meant Wuheida was denied the chance to put her Classic credentials to the test and, while happy to see lightning striking twice at Chantilly, Appleby will be hoping for better luck next season with Wild Illusion.
“We'll put her away for the winter now and live the dream until next spring,” he said. “Whether we look at her as a Guineas contender, or potentially we work back from the Oaks, we’ll see.
"The one thing she does is stay the trip very well and I don’t see why she won’t get further at three. She's a relentless galloper."
Wild Illusion was introduced into the Qipco 1,000 Guineas market at 20-1 with Betfair, while she can be backed at the same price for the Investec Oaks with BetVictor.
Whereas William Buick took the spoils on Wuheida, his Godolphin teammate James Doyle was the winning rider this time and has no doubt stamina is Wild Illusions's strong suit.
He said: “When I let go of her in the straight I thought she’d take a fair bit of catching. She’s been a bit lost, even in her work at home, but she’s learning on the job. She’ll be a nice staying filly next year.”
Asked if she was a genuine Classic contender, he added: “Why not.”
On the evidence of this, why not indeed.
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