Wild Illusion bids to cap a memorable season with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Saturday.
Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old has struck twice at the highest level this term, landing the the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Prix de l’Opera on Arc day at ParisLongchamp.
The Godolphin-owned three-year-old has maintained her form tremendously well, having also finished fourth in the 1000 Guineas and second in the Oaks earlier in the campaign.
While the recent heavy rain at Churchill Downs is a concern for some, Appleby – who claimed last year’s renewal with Wuheida – does not expect underfoot conditions to trouble his charge.
He said: “Her preparation has been good and she shipped well and we’re looking forward to it.
“Obviously the ground is going to be soft, but she does have Group One form on soft ground, so that isn’t a concern.
“She’s got a nice draw and on all known form she is the one to beat.
“She’s had a great year and if she can cap it off with a win on Saturday it will be fantastic.”
Aidan O’Brien appears to hold a strong hand as he bids for a first victory in the race.
Magic Wand was second to Wild Illusion in France, while Athena already has a Grade One victory to her name in America.
He said: “Magic Wand is a big filly who has been unlucky. A mile and three furlongs might be as far as she wants to go, so Ryan (Moore) will take his time on her.
“She is progressing as the year has gone on. She seems to be good. She ran on Arc weekend and she seems to be in good form and everyone is happy with her.
“Athena is in good form and won a Group One in America early on. She is a good traveller that quickens well.”
Eziyra (Dermot Weld) and Princess Yaiza (Gavin Cromwell) are other Irish raiders.
Frankie Dettori takes the ride for Weld, and told his Ladbrokes blog: “The only bad thing is the draw – 14 of 14. It is a mile and three, so we will have to fiddle our way through the field.
“It looks a super strong race, but Dermot Weld would not take her here if he didn’t think she had a chance.”