Saturday 19 October 2019

Magical run for O'Brien's filly

Magical, with Ryan Moore up, on their way to winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday. Photo: Matt Browne
Magical, with Ryan Moore up, on their way to winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday. Photo: Matt Browne

Gary Carson

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.

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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.

"We were delighted," said O'Brien. "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 programme and she's really something to look forward to."

The champion trainer enjoyed a four-timer and, after winning the €1.25m feature for the first time since 2011, he suggested another clash between Magical and Enable was a fight connections felt they could win.

Enable has memorably beaten Magical all four times they have clashed but O'Brien is not giving up. "The plan was always that she would go to the Arc next," he said, referencing another clash with Enable. "This filly ran against her last year (in the Breeders' Cup) and was only beaten three parts of a length," he said.

"It was more or less the same at Sandown and after we gave her a break this summer she changed into a different filly. When they met at York last time she was just ready to start off again.

"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."

Meanwhile, Logician maintained his unbeaten record with an emphatic win in the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori - who was winning the world's oldest Classic for the sixth time - the John Gosden-trained son of Frankel was sent off the red-hot 5-6 favourite, following his most recent victory in the Great Voltigeur at York.

That win on the Knavesmire last month had come on the back of success in a Newbury handicap, and the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt duly took this step up to the highest level with aplomb.

Nestled towards the rear through the early stages, Dettori took his time before moving sweetly down the Town Moor straight and sweeping to the front when he asked the grey to quicken a fair way out.

Sir Dragonet briefly threatened to make a race of it. But in the end there was only one horse in it, with Dettori able to ease up close home for a two-and-a-quarter length success from Sir Ron Priestley, who ran a big race for Mark Johnston in the hands of Franny Norton.

It was another head back in third to Nayef Road, also trained by Johnston.

"He took Frankie on early, you could see Frankie's hands were higher than usual, but he eventually relaxed well," said Gosden, celebrating his fifth Leger victory. "He stayed the trip well, which is always a worry, and the fast ground rather than it being testing probably helped him stay the trip and he's won in a record time with one flick of the stick."

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