Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

Godolphin's Wild Illusion to skip Yorkshire Oaks to focus on Prix de l'Opera and Breeders' Cup

Trainer Charlie Appleby outlines the future plans of the Nassau Stakes winner

Wild Illusion was in fine form to win the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse. Getty Images
Wild Illusion was in fine form to win the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse. Getty Images

Wild Illusion is likely to sidestep the Yorkshire Oaks later this month and instead be prepared for the Prix de l'Opera before a potential appearance at the Breeders' Cup.

Having finished fourth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and second in both the Investec Oaks at Epsom and the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Godolphin-owned filly was not winning out of turn when claiming Group 1 honours in Thursday's Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The Yorkshire Oaks was mooted as a possible target in the immediate aftermath, but trainer Charlie Appleby is keen to stick to a mile and a quarter with Wild Illusion for the time being.


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"It is all still quite open. We are potentially going to give her a little break," he said. "We saw what she can do over 10 furlongs at Goodwood, so what could just be the way forward is the Prix de l'Opera and then the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

"We are probably edging more towards the Opera next now. The twice she has run over a mile and a half she has met one too good.

"Did she not really stay a mile and a half? People can question that, but I think we were beaten by two very smart fillies that have outstayed us."

One Appleby charge who was denied his shot at Classic glory this season is the long-absent Ghaiyyath.

The Dubawi colt was considered a leading Derby contender during the winter after signing off his juvenile year with victory in the Autumn Stakes. He has not yet raced as a three-year-old after suffering an early-season injury, but Appleby hopes he will return next month.

"He is in good order and we are looking towards giving him his first start in September. He is back in full work and pleasing us very nicely," Appleby said.

"The St Leger will come a bit tight. He will be a horse for next year and we could look at the Prix du Prince d'Orange at Longchamp.

"He still is a big hope as he is a horse that we love. He has done very well physically and can only do better from three to four. He spent last winter in Dubai and he will go there again this winter."

The Appleby-trained Loxley entered St Leger discussions earlier this summer, but that plan was shelved after he was beaten in the Bahrain Trophy and he is now set for a drop in distance.

Appleby said: "He is going to go to France next. There is a Listed race at Deauville on Saturday [Prix Nureyev] or a Group Two [Prix Guillaume D'Ornano].

"They are both mile and a quarter races, so we are dropping back from just short of a mile and six [furlongs] in the Bahrain Trophy.

"He doesn't show a lack of pace. When he won his novice at the July Course he did that quite smartly, so they are his next options."

Updated: August 5, 2018 05:47 PM



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