Magical ready to sparkle in autumn campaign as O'Brien readies team
The best may be yet to come from Magical with Aidan O'Brien expecting his brilliant filly to thrive this autumn with some big targets ahead.
The Ballydoyle maestro was "thrilled" with yesterday's workout by the daughter of Galileo as he launched the Longines Irish Champions Weekend - "there isn't a weekend anywhere in the world with racing like it" - and outlined plans for some of his string for the rest of the season.
Magical - second in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse before taking a mid-summer break - is likely to tackle the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday, September 14 along with Japan but the pair may meet as soon as next Wednesday in the Juddmonte International at York.
"Magical worked this morning and we were really happy with her. She's had a little break but is back on song now. Last year she came alive in the autumn and I know by looking at her she will do the same this year," O'Brien said of the four-year-old.
"If she does, it'll be very exciting over the next few months. Enable is obviously a superstar, and we all know that, but there has never been much between her and Magical when they've met. They're two great fillies."
Of Japan - 3/1 English St Leger favourite after landing the Group One Grand Prix de Paris on his last start but likely to stay at shorter trips - O'Brien said: "We always felt Japan was very nice. There were other horses there to pick up the spots earlier in the season until he progressed.
"He has come along nicely among them and he's still coming along. He's in a lovely place, both mentally and physically, and we believe he has progressed again since France."
Meanwhile, Willie McCreery is hoping to land a French raid with Up Helly Aa today as the two-year-old steps up in class to tackle Group Two company in the Prix Guillaume D'Ornano (3.30) at Deauville.
The Galileo colt progressed from his maiden win to finish runner-up in the Group Three Meld Stakes on just his third start and the Kildare trainer hopes there's more to come from Billy Lee's mount when he takes on five rivals for the €400,000 prize.
"He seems in good form. He'll have to improve again to win it, but we hope he's on an upward curve. He's improving physically the whole time, so I hope he will do so on the track," McCreery said.
Elsewhere, seven go to post in the Group Three Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes (7.0) but it's all about Madhmoon.
Fourth in the English 2,000 Guineas and a close second in the Epsom Derby before running fourth in the Irish equivalent, Kevin Prendergast's charge may not have scored yet this season but it's impossible to deny his outstanding credentials at this grade.