Aidan O’Brien believes Newmarket trio are closely matched
Trainer runs Happily, Magical and September in Fillies’ Mile
Ryan Moore riding Happily (left) wins the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere during Prix at Chantilly. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Aidan O’Brien has stressed there is very little between his three runners in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on Friday.
Ryan Moore’s mount Happily landed a second Group One in France when beating the colts in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere recently.
Magical could finish only fourth to Wild Illusion in the Prix Marcel Boussac on the same card at Chantilly, but had previously been closely matched with Happily in the Debutante and Moyglare Stud Stakes.
The third Ballydoyle runner, September, has been behind the other two twice since running out a clear-cut winner of the Chesham at Royal Ascot on fast ground and O’Brien believes the return to a quicker surface is in her favour.
“Happily only ran last week, but she seems to be in good form,” said O’Brien.
“Obviously she hasn’t done much since, but seems in good form and we were absolutely delighted with her in France.
“Magical is in good form. She hasn’t done much but seems to be in good form since France.
“The three are all closely enough matched and Seamie’s [Heffernan] filly [September] was just in behind the other two at the Curragh.
“She’s had a longer break and seems in good form. She has run on soft and seems to handle any type of ground, but her better form has been on better.”
Magic Lily may not have the form in the book to match the O’Brien trio with just a debut maiden win to her name, but she can certainly match them in the breeding department being by Derby hero New Approach out of Oaks winner Dancing Rain.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Magic Lily is a filly we were confident would run a nice race on her first start, but she ended up winning very impressively and seeing out the one-mile trip really well.
“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.
“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.”
Karl Burke supplemented Ellthea, although there seems little doubt his first string is Laurens, the May Hill winner at Doncaster.
“I’ve been away at the sales quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, but I saw Laurens canter this morning [Thursday] and she looks fantastic,” said Burke.
“I think it’s probably the highest class two-year-old fillies race run so far this year, but Laurens is a high-class filly, we know that.
“Whatever she’s achieved this year and achieves on Friday, we know she’ll improve again next year.”
Ellthea was supposedly heading to France after winning in Ireland but there was a late change of heart.
“The owners made the late change as they were keen to go for a Group One and I think she’ll run well,” said Burke.
“Of my two she’s definitely the more mature, she’s very tough and she’s on a steep upward curve.
“I think she’ll have to improve on what she’s done so far to finish in the first three, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”