Magical puts away Ghaiyyath in Irish Champion Stakes

Sports

Magical puts away Ghaiyyath in Irish Champion Stakes

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Magical (9/2) became only the second horse to record back-to-back wins on Saturday (September 12) in the Irish Champion Stakes, claiming the notable scalp of Ghaiyyath in the process.

Seamie Heffernan sat on the tail of the 8/13 favourite throughout and asked his mount to pick him up after the home turn.

She was in front a furlong out and try as he might, the Godolphin flagbearer couldn't get back in front despite a brave rally.

At the line a neck separated the pair with Armory, a 66/1 stablemate of the winner, in third.

Winning trainer Aidan O'Brien said: “What she wants is always to eyeball a horse in battle. Seamie was happy to make the running today if William wanted to get a lead and if William was going to go, Seamie was going to go with him and keep her interested.

“It was a brilliant ride and she's a serious mare. It's really when you get into a battle with her, you see what she can do.”

Magical was initially retired from racing at the end of last year after a setback ruled her out of a planned Breeders' Cup run, but owners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith reversed that decision and returned her to training in the spring – a move that has reaped rich dividends.

O'Brien said: “The lads made the call and all credit to them for doing it. She was booked to go to No Nay Never and we were just so delighted that they decided to give her another go. They said that hopefully No Nay Never will be there next year and hopefully she will be as well. She's an amazing mare.

“I suppose we are learning about her all the time. If you get away from her she gets a bit lazy, but if you get into a fight with her very few will eyeball her. That's what she did – she eyeballed the colt all the way.

Magical is a great filly. It wasn't a big field, but they were all good horses in it. Armory (third-placed stablemate) ran an unbelievable race as well.

“It's a massive race. Of all the European races, prestige-wise, this is one of the top, if not the top, because on ratings over a 10-year period, this nearly comes out on top of all the races.

“Every year all the high-rated horses turn up here. It has a perfect place in the calendar, perfect ground, perfect distance.”

O'Brien also houses 1000 Guineas and Oaks winner Love in his Ballydoyle yard, and she currently tops the betting for next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.

Magical could also be in the frame for that race – although the Prix de l'Opera is the alternative option on the same day, with a trip to America another possible route.

O'Brien added: “She has the choice of the Arc or the fillies' race on the same day. It will depend on what the lads want to do with Love. The Breeders' Cup could also suit her really well.”


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