Wild Illusion is a good thing in the Ribblesdale Stakes, according to Simon Holt - check out his best bets for day three at Royal Ascot.
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WILD ILLUSION, in the frame in two Classics this season, boasts clearly the strongest form in Thursday's Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Godolphin-owned filly, a Group One scorer as a two-year-old, ran a solid race in the 1,000 Guineas first time out to finish fourth behind surprise winner Billesdon Brook, and that effort looks respectable enough given the subsequent efforts of the runner-up Laurens and third-placed Happily who were first and fourth respectively (over a longer trip) in last Sunday's Prix De Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly.
Expected to really appreciate the step up to a mile-and-a-half in the Oaks at Epsom, Wild Illusion found the unexposed Forever Together too strong in the closing stages on soft ground but still finished well ahead of the re-opposing Magic Wand (over six lengths away in fourth) and Perfect Clarity (seventh).
Going conditions will be quicker on this occasion, but the selection is well clear on official ratings and the only 'unknown' rival is the Frankel filly Sun Maiden.
This big half sister to the high-class Midday bolted up by 12 lengths in a minor event at Salisbury on her reappearance last month albeit from rivals who have done little for the form since. She is impossible to assess and, while having a great pedigree, also lacks experience.
The following Gold Cup is a race to savour with Order Of St George, the winner in 2016 and narrowly beaten by Big Orange in an epic duel 12 months ago, sure to take plenty of beating.
Aidan O'Brien's classy gelding, placed in two Arcs, has had an ideal preparation winning at Navan and Leopardstown but faces a rising staying star in STRADIVARIUS.
John Gosden's colt was beaten only a length into third behind Order Of St George and the re-opposing Torcedor (Mount Moriah fourth) on Champions Day here in October when the soft ground conditions would not have been in his favour.
Earlier the winner of the Goodwood Cup and third in the St Leger, he made a highly satisfactory reappearance when readily accounting for Desert Skyline (now 3lb better off) in the Yorkshire Cup and connections have the new Weatherbys Hamilton £1million bonus in their sights.
Stradivarius is unproven over this extreme distance but stayed on well in that race on Champions Day and looks open to further improvement.
Torcedor, fifth in this race last year, is also progressive and returned with a comfortable win in the Sagaro Stakes here in early May but, if the ground stays on the firm side, that might not be ideal.
Meanwhile, the joker in the pack is Vazirabad, the champion stayer in France for several seasons, who runs for the first time in Britain.
Quirky but hugely talented with a good turn of foot, he beat subsequent York winner Marmelo with something in hand at Longchamp last month and is hard to rule out given a magnificent career record of 15 wins and five seconds from 22 starts including three Group Ones.
Earlier, WADILSAFA is a fascinating runner in the Hampton Court Stakes.
This highly-regarded son of Frankel looks ready for a step up in class and distance after an impressive win, hitting the line strongly, at Newmarket a month ago from the promising Herculean, who beat him last season on his sole two-year-old start.
The Owen Burrows-trained colt takes on Hunting Horn and Key Victory, sixth and eighth respectively in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and the potentially useful Godolphin-owned Doncaster winner National Army but looks exciting.
Finally, CORROSIVE has a few factors in his favour in the always competitive Britannia Handicap.
Hugo Palmer's colt has won his last three starts including over this course and distance in May from a heavily backed rival in Al Jellaby and had previously accounted for the recent Lingfield winner Stylehunter at Yarmouth, renewing rivalry with that colt now on 8lb better terms.