Tuesday 22 October 2019

Magical can deliver spellbinding display to land Ascot glory

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA
Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Aidan O'Brien did what he does best when dominating at Royal Ascot yesterday and the Ballydoyle maestro has another strong hand on day two.

O'Brien sends Magical in pursuit of the Group One Prince Of Wales's Stakes (3.40) - which is worth a whopping €840,000 - but the top four in the betting are closely matched on official ratings.

Last year's runner-up, Crystal Ocean for Michael Stoute, William Haggas' Sea Of Class and the André Fabre-trained Waldgeist will be formidable opposition for O'Brien's charge.

Magical - second to wonder mare Enable in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf - has been in scintillating form this season with a hat-trick of victories and the daughter of Galileo can deliver the knockout blow to prevail.

O'Brien has farmed the Group Two Queen's Vase (3.05), winning five of the last nine runnings, and is mob-handed with four challengers and nothing to separate Norway (Ryan Moore) and Western Australia (Donnacha O'Brien) on official figures.

Barbados has an each-way shout, but Harpo Marx looks outclassed while his son Joseph saddles Eminent Authority, which is not without a chance when stepping up significantly in trip on just his third career start.

The Group Two Queen Mary Stakes (2.30) - a 27-runner cavalry charge - opens proceedings with American trainer Wesley Ward hoping to maintain his love affair with the Berkshire track in recent years.

Ward sends Kimari and Anna's Fast into a contest which he has won three times in the last decade, but a strong Irish challenge is led by Willie McCreery's Ickworth.

Ickworth (e/w) coasted home in a Listed contest at the Curragh last month and could make the frame, while O'Brien's pair of Tango and Love Bracelet, Kieran Cotter's Daughter In Law, Michael O'Callaghan's Isabeau and Fozzy Stack's American Lady are all available at sizeable odds.

The Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (4.20) sees O'Brien's I Can Fly vying for favouritism, while Joseph O'Brien runs Red Tea and Stack sends over outsider Hand On Heart.

Settle For Bay bids to become the first back-to-back winner of the Royal Hunt Cup (5.0) in over 70 years when trying to rekindle his scintillating performance of 12 months ago.

Ascot has been a happy hunting ground for David Marnane but Settle For Bay must beat 29 rivals - including Joseph O'Brien's outsider King's Field - to rewrite history.

The concluding Listed Windsor Castle Stakes (5.35) sees O'Brien's Southern Hills and O'Callaghan's Red Epaulette bid to end the day on a winning note for the raiding party.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing - RWC Daily: End of an era as Ireland say sayonara to World Cup

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport