Charlie Appleby challenges Wild Illusion to work her magic in Oaks

Bullish Godolphin handler thrilled with Dubawi filly ahead of Epsom Classic

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Charlie Appleby believes Wild Illusion has plenty going for her when she strives for Classic glory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

Ground conditions and the extra distance are just two of the factors the Godolphin trainer feels will help the Dubawi filly.

She won the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac on soft going at Chantilly and ran an excellent trial for the Oaks when a staying-on fourth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her seasonal debut.

Appleby said: “She’s going in the race off the back of a good trial in the 1000 Guineas. We always felt and hoped that stepping up in trip would be her forte.

“With the conditions likely to be testing she has proven Group One form on soft ground. She ticks a lot of the boxes.

“At the end of the day, it is the Oaks so you have to respect every runner and you have to handle the track, but I couldn’t be happier with her.

“She is a very straightforward filly – ever since day one. She has raced close to the pace in the past because we always felt she just wants a trip.”

Wild Illusion represents the best chance so far of Classic success for Appleby and jockey William Buick, who was also pleased with her effort at Newmarket.

“She ran a lovely race on her comeback in the 1000 Guineas and is a filly who will appreciate stepping up in trip,” said the jockey.

“Her form is very solid and she’s never done anything wrong.

“She’s very stoutly bred on the dam’s side and, being by Dubawi, has a great pedigree. You would like to think the distance not being an inconvenience for her and she seems straightforward.”

Clive Cox is also chasing that elusive first Classic triumph and in Perfect Clarity he has good reason to be optimistic.

The Nathaniel filly won her sole start as a juvenile and maintained her unbeaten record by taking the Lingfield Oaks Trial in good style.

Cox told At The Races: “I’m delighted with the way she’s growing up and maturing. She’s a lovely filly and I’m looking forward to running her.

“She’s the best middle-distance horse I think we’ve had the pleasure of having. She’s got a change of gear, she stays and she’s done everything right so far.”

William Haggas feels the soft ground will play to the strengths of Give And Take.

The daughter of Cityscape booked her place at Epsom with victory in the Musidora Stakes at York, where the ground was good to firm.

“I think she’s come forward for her win at York. She looks great and is in really good shape,” said Haggas.

“Her problem is she has quite a lot to find but a nine-runner field is good for us.

“Whether she is quite good enough, we will see, but soft ground won’t hinder her at all.”

Charlie Appleby challenges Wild Illusion to work her magic in Oaks

Epsom Downs 16:30, 1 June 2018

Finished 2 of 9 @ 5/2

tracked leading trio, came to near side and one off the rail in straight, ridden to lead and joined approaching final 2f, headed entering final 2f, stayed on same pace, no chance with winner

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