Magical leads an Aidan O’Brien sweep in Irish Champion Stakes

September 14, 2019 11:49am
Magical took command with just over two furlongs to run drew off to an impressive 2 ¼-length victory over Magic Wand in Saturday's Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown Race Course.

The 4-year-old filly led home a 1-2-3 sweep not only for her trainer Aidan O’Brien, but also for her sire, Galileo. Magic Wand got up for second by a head over Epsom Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck. Japan’s talented filly Deirdre, winner of the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, flew home late but had to settle for fourth, a half-length fruther back.

Magical provided O’Brien with his eighth winner in the Irish Champion. The Ballydoyle maestro also saddled four winners (all stakes) on the Irish Champions’ Day card.

A victory in the Irish Champion Stakes granted Magical a "Win and You're In" trip to the Breeders' Cup Turf set for Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. Magical finished a narrow second to Enable in last year's Turf and benefitted from dodging Europe's top runner Saturday.

Before the Breeders' Cup, Magical is expected to go on from here to challenge Enable again in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1). Magical will be looking to turn the tables after the two met again this season in Enable's last start, the Yorkshire Oaks (G1).

"There's no sidestepping anybody," O'Brien said of another meet. "It's what everybody wants to see."

Magical, a bay daughter of Galileo out of the Pivotal mare Halfway to Heaven, joined George Washington (BRZ), Crystal Ocean (GB), Lys Gracieux (JPN), Enable (GB), Bricks and Mortar, Acclimate, Annals of Time and Spanish Mission as the “Win and You’re In” qualifiers thus far for the Longines Turf.

Magical, who was runner-up to Enable in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, won her fourth race in seven starts this year. She returned to the winner’s circle after tough defeats against Crystal Ocean in the “Win and You’re In” Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 19 and then to Enable in the Coral Eclipse (G1) at Sandown on July 6 in addition to the Yorkshire Oaks.

Magical won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) at The Curragh earlier this year.

Sent away as the 11-10 favorite in the eight-horse field of the Irish Champion, Magical tracked comfortably behind pacesetting stablemate Hunting Horn through the first mile before being roused by jockey Ryan Moore and sending her to the front with two furlongs remaining. Both the 4-year-old filly Magic Wand, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, and the 3-year-old Anthony Van Dyck, who won the Investec Derby (G1), tried to stay close, but were no match for the winner.


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