William Buick believes in Wild lllusion for Investec Oaks
30 May 2018
Jockey says Group One winner should be suited by stepping up in distance for fillies' Classic at Epsom.
Wild Illusion was a fine fourth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on her return. Picture: Racingfotos.com
The Charlie Appleby-trained daughter of Dubawi is already a winner at the highest level, having won the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly in October, and shaped well on her reappearance when fourth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket this month.
Wild Illusion will be racing beyond a mile for the first time but there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree – her dam, Rubh, was twice successful over two miles – and Buick says moving up half a mile in distance for the £500,000 feature, which forms part of the Fillies and Mares category of the QIPCO British Champions Series, will play to her strengths.
“She ran a lovely race on her comeback in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and is a filly who will appreciate stepping up in trip,” the jockey, seeking a first success in the Oaks, said. “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. She ticks a lot of boxes.”
Buick, 29, recalled once riding Rumh seven years ago. “The pair of us had a bit of a pacemaking role for Blue Bunting in the Yorkshire Oaks but she was a good filly in her own right, stayed very well and likes soft ground,” he said.
A final field of nine has been declared for the premier fillies’ Classic, with Aidan O’Brien responsible for five of those. “It’s competitive, as you would expect, with a lot of good fillies in the race, including a couple that have won trials who are on the up,” Buick said. “It could be there is an improver coming along, but you can never beat Group 1 form.”
Wild Illusion, the general 4-1 favourite, would be a fourth Oaks winner for Godolphin after Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995, owned in partnership with Maktoum Al Maktoum) and Kazzia (2002).
Among those standing in her way are O’Brien’s squad: Magic Wand, Forever Together, Bye Bye Baby, I Can Fly and Flattering. The betting suggests his Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks one-two Magic Wand and Forever Together are his principal contenders but Was (at 20/1 in 2012) and Qualify (50/1 in 2015) upstaged better fancied stablemates when taking the spoils for the Ballydoyle Trainer.
William Haggas has described Dancing Rain’s Oaks victory in 2011 as one of his proudest moments in his training career and he will be represented by Give And Take, who had Ejtyah back in third when winning the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.
Perfect Clarity, trained by Clive Cox, is the only runner with an unblemished record. She won the Listed Betfred Mobile Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield in good style, having won on her debut at Nottingham in August. Her sire, Nathaniel, was responsible for last year’s Investec Oaks heroine Enable.