Pink Dogwood was a gallant runner-up in the Epsom Oaks last time out and can go one better down in trip and gain compensation in the feature race at The Curragh on Friday, the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes over 1m 2f (17:25).
This three-year-old daughter of Camelot is the clear pick of the Aidan O’Brien trained trio aimed at this on race terms.
Pink Dogwood receives 12lb weight-for-age from the older fillies, so she’s 9lb well-in on British raider Wild Illusion.
After chasing home the ill-fated Lady Kaya on debut here and then Trethias when stepped up to a mile, she won third time up at Gowran Park.
Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien pitched Pink Dogwood straight in at Group 1 level off the back of that.
She had no luck in-running whatsoever in the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc weekend at Longchamp when swamped and denied a clear run in the closing stages.
Given how the race panned out, Pink Dogwood was far from disgraced when a close-up 1 1/2 lengths fifth.
It left the impression there was no more come granted a clear run.
That view was confirmed when Pink Dogwood took the Listed 1m 2f Salsabil Stakes at Navan on reappearance when scoring by half-a-length under a hands and heels ride.
Bookmakers were quick to slash her for The Oaks off the back of this unextended effort.
In the fillies’ Classic at Epsom, jockey Ryan Moore arguably hit the front too soon as Pink Dogwood got headed inside the last half-furlong but went down fighting by a neck.
That form sets a clear standard in this seven-runner affair. Pink Dogwood is entitled to be 11/8 favourite with Bethard as a result and, off these terms, simply can’t be opposed.
Wild Illusion tops ratings but terms against her
Powerful owners Godolphin and retained trainer Charlie Appleby send Wild Illusion across the Irish Sea in search of the spoils.
The four-year-old Dubawi filly faces no easy task in giving lumps of weight away to Pink Dogwood, however, despite topping official ratings.
Wild Illusion was a progressive juvenile who won the Marcel Boussac in 2017, before placing fourth and second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Epsom Oaks last season.
She then improved on those efforts to land the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the Prix de l’Opera in France.
Those victories at the highest level over this trip mean Wild Illusion commands the utmost respect.
Although touched off close home and beaten a neck in her hat-trick bid at the Breeders’ Cup in America, she was far from disgraced over a furlong further at Churchill Downs.
Wild Illusion did disappoint when sent off favourite for the Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp down in trip and weakening out of it on appearance.
She may have needed the run, however, and looks sure to come on a bundle for it after 204 days off.
That doesn’t change the fact Wild Illusion still has 9lb to find with Pink Dogwood on adjusted ratings.
It looks like a big ask; so, despite odds of 15/8 with 888Sport, we are taking her on.
Iridessa an each-way alternative
Another three-year-old that’s well-in on her elders is the Joseph O’Brien trained Iridessa who has been crying out for a step up in trip.
This daughter of Derby winner Ruler Of The World won the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile as a juvenile but has so far kept to that distance. Her pedigree suggests Iridessa is capable of getting further.
It’s clearly needed as she finished eighth and then fourth to dual 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa at Newmarket and here last time out.
As Iridessa meets Happen on 3lb better terms over three furlongs than when denied second by a head on reappearance, she should reverse form with that re-opposing rival.
She is already officially a better filly than Magic Wand and rated just 1lb below the very consistent Who’s Steph.
Getting that weight from the four-year-olds who also include Worth Waiting, it’s Iridessa who appeals most to at least hit the frame.
At odds of 16/1 with Unibet, this Pretty Polly Stakes preview puts her on the shortlist for this now getting an increased stamina test.
Iridessa looks an each-way alternative angle into this valuable prize.