By Geoffrey Riddle
Charlie Appleby is confident that he has the regally-bred Magic Lily in peak condition as he tries to put the skids on Aidan O’Brien’s inexorable march in to the history books in Friday’s bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Magic Lily attempts to bridge the frequently difficult gulf between posting an impressive maiden success and scoring at Group One level.
The daughter of Derby winner New Approach, who is out of Oaks winner Dancing Rain, spread-eagled the field over course and distance in a Novice event last month.
Consolida, who was fifth that day, has subsequently gone on to taste victory.
Magic Lily has been working with gusto alongside some of her more illustrious stable companions recently. The chestnut filly came through with flying colours in a piece of work in Newmarket on Saturday and it was enough to convince her handler to spend £40,000 of Sheikh Mohammed’s money in search of a fourth win in the race for Godolphin.
“Magic Lily is a filly we were confident would run a nice race on her first-up start, but she ended up winning very impressively and seeing out the one mile trip really well,” Appleby said.
“She did a nice piece of work on Saturday and that made our minds up to supplement her.
“She has worked together with my recent Prix Marcel Boussac winner, Wild Illusion, and worked well. But comparing the two is not really fair as Wild Illusion is not a renowned work horse, she only really brings out her ‘A’ game on race day.”
Magic Lily was ridden by James Doyle last time, but William Buick returned triumphantly from injuries sustained aboard the ill-fated Permian on Blue Point at Ascot last Saturday and will be in the saddle on Friday.
“It will be great to team up with Will again on Friday now that he is back from injury,” Appleby added.
“It was nice to provide him with a comeback winner with Blue Point last weekend and he rode Magic Lily on Saturday and again this [Wednesday] morning.”
“The Dubai Future Champions Festival is an important festival for the whole Godolphin team. I’ve been lucky to have winners there in the past and it’s good to have a few live contenders, including Magic Lily, this year.”
Magic Lily is generally available at 8-1 behind O’Brien’s Happily, who is the 9-4 favourite on account of her impressive win the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere.
Happily took on the colts in a departure from the usual Coolmore modus operandi at Chantilly ten days ago and was a length and a quarter clear of Olmedo at the line.
The Ballydoyle handler is on the cusp of breaking Bobby Frankel's record of 25 Group-Grade One victories and should one of his trio prevail he will draw level with the legendary Sir Henry Cecil on six Fillies' Mile victories.
Karl Burke has declared May Hill winner Laurens and Ellthea, who claimed a handicap at Doncaster before successfully stepping up to Group Three level in Ireland last time, while Mark Johnston's Nyaleti contests another Pattern event after a busy season.
Freddy Head provides an extra French dimension as he sends across Efaadah, who was a winner on her debut at Deauville but then had to settle for second in a Group Three at Chantilly.