Charlie Appleby saddles two of the leading fancies, Soliloquy and Wild Illusion, in the 15-runner Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas over a mile of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Sunday (May 6th).
Following on from Saturday’s initial leg, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, this £547,500 event is the second of 35 races that make up the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Based in Newmarket, Appleby has been training for just under five years and is seeking his first British Classic victory. He dominated the first Rowley Mile fixture of the season, last month’s three-day bet365 Craven Meeting, saddling six winners including Soliloquy, who had a length and three-quarters to spare over Altyn Orda when she landed the seven furlong Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes.
That performance, on just the third start of Soliloquy’s career, was enough to merit her being given a supplementary entry into this race at a cost of £30,000.
Successful in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly last October, Wild Illusion also made an appearance at the Craven Meeting, though in her case it was to take part in a racecourse gallop rather than run in a race. She will be ridden on Sunday by James Doyle while Soliloquy is the choice of Appleby’s stable jockey, William Buick.
Champion Irish Trainer Aidan O’Brien is bidding for a third straight QIPCO 1000 Guineas victory and his four-strong team will be led by Happily, already a Group 1 winner in both Ireland and France.
Other leading contenders include last season’s Group 1 bet365 Filliies’ Mile heroine, Laurens, and Anna Nerium, successful in the Listed bet365 European Free Handicap here on 18th April but now stepping up to a mile for the first time.
A second supplementary entry is the winner of the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury 13 days go, Dan’s Dream, named after Dan Nicholls, who is paralysed from the neck down following a swimming accident.
Dan’s Dream represents an eclectic bunch of sporting legends as she is trained by former England footballer, Mick Channon, and is part-owned by former cricketer, Sir Ian Botham, and former rugby player, Sir Gareth Edwards. Any prize money she wins on Sunday will be donated to the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Soliloquy and Wild Illusion, said:
“We were delighted with Soliloquy in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. She has taken that race very well and has undergone a very straightforward preparation leading up to the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.”
“She was a nice two-year-old but it was only during the latter stages of the winter that she really started to come forward. Three weeks before the Nell Gwyn Stakes, the penny suddenly dropped and everything started to come to hand quickly.”
“I think that she has continued that progression since her seasonal return and looks a strong individual now. It has only been just over two weeks since the Nell Gwyn but we are very happy with the way she looks.”
“She has made the running on both her wins but can drop in and take a lead as well. She is quite versatile and a straightforward filly to ride.”
“It might be slightly quicker ground compared to the Craven meeting but it wouldn’t be a concern – she is a good-moving filly and I don’t think the going will be an excuse for many horses this weekend.”
“Wild Illusion wintered out in Dubai and has done well from two to three. She brings Group 1 form to the table and her preparation has gone well.”
“We gave her a racecourse gallop on the Rowley Mile and were very pleased with the way she handled conditions. We wanted to give her a feel of the course because the tracks that she has run on so far have been very level and William was very pleased with the way she handled the dip.”
“In an ideal world, she might have appreciated more juice in the ground this weekend. Her best form has been on soft going but it is good spring ground, so there shouldn’t be too much to be worried about.”
“The QIPCO 1000 Guineas has been the plan all winter, particularly with a view to working back from the Oaks. She put up a good time in the Marcel Boussac, quicker than the Jean-Luc Lagardere on the same card, so she is not short of pace.”
“She is not a filly that you are going to get a good vibe from at home because she has never shown a great deal. Her work is nothing flash but she gets the job done and brings her ‘A’ game to the table when it comes to racing.”