Magical performance secures Irish Champion glory

O’Brien makes no mistake at Leopardstown

  • Saturday 14 September
  • News
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Magical proved a class above her rivals with a decisive victory in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly has spent much of her admirable career to date chasing the brilliant Enable at the top level – but after this two-and-a-quarter-length success, she now has three Group One wins on her CV.

The 11-10 favourite had a dream passage, closest to the pace set by stablemate Hunting Horn and then producing far too much speed for those in behind once Ryan Moore committed in the straight.

Two more from the O’Brien team chased her home, with Magic Wand second and Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck another head away in third – at 20-1 and 12-1 respectively.

Japanese mare Deirdre was the unlucky horse in the race, trapped for racing room when the pace quickened and then staying on best to finish fourth.

But there was no stopping Magical, who was a stylish winner as she took advantage of Enable’s absence for once, in the process earning herself quotes of 6-1 from 14-1 from Paddy Power and Betfair, should she try to take on John Gosden’s mare again in next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

O’Brien said: “We were delighted. She had a midsummer break and her first run back was in York. She ran Enable to a couple of lengths and we knew she was going to come forward a good bit.

““She was just ready to go to York. Obviously Enable is a great filly and when we saw her running that well against her we were looking forward to this race and the autumn after that.

“We knew she was going to be in real good shape for today and I couldn’t have been happier with her.

“She’s a lovely filly. We know she gets the mile and a half and handles an ease in the ground, she was back to a mile and a quarter today on fast ground and Ryan gave her a lovely, uncomplicated ride.

“She had really come forward from York. She came out and travelled like that and quickened the way she did, Ryan said she doesn’t do much in front, she’s a very exciting filly.

“This was the second race of her autumn campaign program and she’s really something to look forward to.

“The plan was to go to the Arc from here, but usually what happens is we see how they come out of it, talk to the lads and they see if they stay on the programme or go a different way.

“It’s something great to have to think about.”

Asked whether Magical could stay in training next year, O’Brien said: “John (Magnier), Michael (Tabor) and Derrick (Smith) will decide what they want to do there.

“We’ll try to get her to the end of the year safe and compete in the races that we can. To have her even at four is an absolute privilege. She’s a very special filly and those fillies don’t come along very often.

“She’s a sister to Rhododendron as well so it’s an unbelievable bloodline.”

He added: “This is a very prestigious, world-renowned race. At the end of nearly every race there are very few races, if any, have a higher rating with the horses that run in it.

“It happens constantly, year after year. We’ve been trying to win it every year and the years we haven’t won it we’ve tried very hard so it’s fiercely competitive.

“Horses come from all over the world and it’s great to have a Japanese runner.”

The Ballydoyle trainer said of Magic Wand: “She’s a lovely filly as well. She can do the likes of Hong Kong and all those places. She loves fast ground and anywhere from a mile to a mile and a half.

“She’s very versatile.”

Magical performance secures Irish Champion glory
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