Wednesday 21 February 2018

Magician does trick for Aidan O'Brien

Trainer Aiden O'Brien and jockey Joseph O'Brien
Trainer Aiden O'Brien and jockey Joseph O'Brien

Thomas Kelly

Magician didn't live up to his short-priced odds, but Aidan O'Brien's charge still conjured up enough to land the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh, where he will return for his next mission.

Winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Breeders' Cup Turf as a three-year-old, Magician finished a disappointing sixth on his return at Meydan in March.

Sent off a 2/13 favourite, the Galileo colt was settled at the rear of a five-runner field by the trainer's son, Joseph, and still had plenty to do at the top of the home straight.

Jim Bolger's 2011 Dewhurst winner Parish Hall set sail over a furlong out and for a brief moment it looked as though the bird had flown. However, Magician eventually found top gear to take the Group Three prize by a neck.

"He was away in Dubai and things didn't go right for him," said O'Brien. "We gave him a little rest and he had a good tummy on him today. He's going to come back here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup."

Magician's triumph was the second leg of a double for the Ballydoyle team, with The Great War remaining on course for Royal Ascot after making it two from two in effortless fashion in the Most Improved European Breeders Fund Race.

Following an impressive debut at Tipperary almost a fortnight ago, the War Front colt was the 1/9 favourite for his second start over five furlongs and blew his opponents away, coming home three lengths clear of Bwana without being extended.

"I'm delighted. He's fast and he's made a lovely progression from Tipperary," said the Ballydoyle handler.

"He could come back here for the Marble Hill Stakes, if the ground was fast. If not he could go straight to Royal Ascot."

Dermot Weld is considering a tilt at the Irish 2,000 Guineas for Alkasser (10/1) after the Cork maiden winner turned in a smart display in the Tetrarch Stakes, with Leigh Roche standing in for suspended stable jockey Pat Smullen.

"I'll speak with Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) and Angus Gold (racing manager), but it's quite possible we might run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Whether he'll get a mile is another thing," Weld explained.

Weld's Flying Jib could also be in Classic contention after Kevin Manning partnered her to victory in the Athasi Stakes.

A winner at Dundalk and at this track as a juvenile, the 2/1 favourite mowed down Peace Burg to take this Group Three by half a length on her seasonal reappearance.

There was a thrilling climax to the 10-furlong handicap, with the spoils being shared by Gary Carroll's mount Azurite and the Roche-ridden 10/1 chance Breathe Easy.

Fran Berry produced 9/1 shot Woodsophiesmile with a withering late run to take the one-mile handicap for trainer Tony Martin, while Eddie Lynam's Lady Mega landed the sprint handicap in the hands of Robbie Downey.

Press Association

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