Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby expects Wild Illusion to be tough to beat when she steps back up in trip in the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
The daughter of Dubawi will bid for the fourth top level success of her career, reverting back to a mile and a quarter for the Group One prize on June 28.
After settling for second best in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on her final start last season, Wild Illusion failed to feature on her return when finishing down the field in last month’s Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp.
Appleby said: “Wild Illusion is going to head for the Pretty Polly at the Curragh. I was pleased enough with her first run, and she will definitely come forward for it.
“It was a respectable effort against the colts, because it was the first time she had run against them.
“The most important thing is she will come forward for that run and will improve for the step up to 10 furlongs, and racing against her own sex.
“If she goes to the Pretty Polly in top form then she will be a major player.”
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Godolphin‘s Masar will run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in preference to the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed last year’s Epsom Derby winner will make his long-awaited return in next weekend’s Group Two over a mile and a half.
The Group One Prince of Wales’s, over two furlongs shorter on Wednesday, would have seen Masar make his comeback in what appears a high-class renewal against top fillies Magical and Sea Of Class – herself set to race for the first time in eight months, since her second to the brilliant Enable in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The decision also means James Doyle will be free to ride William Haggas’ Sea Of Class in the Prince of Wales’s, rather than having to choose Masar in that race as he continues to deputise for his fellow Godolphin rider William Buick – who is currently absent with illness .
Appleby explained he and the owners made the final call on Masar’s Ascot target after the colt galloped on Saturday.
He said: “We were very pleased with Masar’s work this morning, and we thought the right option for him is the Hardwicke.
“It’s his first start since the Derby – and with the rest of the season ahead of us, we just felt it would be a tough assignment in the Prince of Wales’s, with the way that race is shaping up.
“The Hardwicke is a lovely race, and we know the conditions should suit him. It looks the right option to start his four-year-old career.”
Masar has been absent from the racecourse since last June, after suffering a leg injury while being prepared for Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse 11 months ago.
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A decision on which race last year’s Derby winner Masar will run in at Royal Ascot will be made in the next 48 hours.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby was happy with him in a routine gallop on Wednesday, after a racecourse spin at Newmarket on Saturday – but whether he lines up over 10 furlongs in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes or the Hardwicke over two furlongs further has still not been finalised.
Appleby said: “I was delighted with the way he came out of Saturday. He did a routine bit of work, but rain stopped play in allowing us to get over the road on to the Limekilns. I couldn’t have been happier with his work.
“In regards to whether he runs in the Prince of Wales’s or Hardwicke, a decision will be made in the next 48 hours. I don’t want to put it further back, but there plenty of calculations that need to be made, especially with the way the ground is with the rain.
“You would be hoping for decent ground, but the forecast has changed over the last couple of days and that has to be taken into consideration. I will speak to Sheikh Mohammed and we will make what we think is the right call for the horse for his start at Ascot.”
He added: “Dropping back to 10 furlongs doesn’t worry me, as I said on Saturday, as he has won the Craven and we were going to come back to 10 furlongs after the Derby, when unfortunately he met with a setback when favourite for the Eclipse.
“We have just got to make sure we make the right decision for his first start after a long lay-off.”
One thing Appleby did confirm was that if Masar runs in the Prince of Wales’s William Haggas will need a new jockey for Sea Of Class, with James Doyle to be retained by Godolphin.
“Wherever Masar runs James Doyle will ride, whether that is the Prince of Wales’s or the Hardwicke,” said Appleby.
“James will be riding all the first-choice horses and star performers like Masar, Cross Counter and Blue Point and he is looking forward to the rides on them.
“Kerrin McEvoy will be coming over to pick up the second mounts. We are delighted to have him on board, as we have had a good association through the years. Hopefully he will stay over until the July meeting at Newmarket.”
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