Horse Racing
Magical will be out to show who is the boss at Ascot on Saturday

15/10/2020 12:31

British Champions Day is this Saturday (17 October) at Ascot and surely none of the champions on view deserve as many accolades as Magical. Her gift for eyeballing her opponents promises to be on full display as she endeavours to repeat last year’s G1 Champion Stakes victory and gain her eighth at the top-level. 
Extraordinarily, she had been scheduled for breeding a year ago but instead the decision was made by Coolmore to keep her on the racecourse. That decision has been superbly vindicated with three G1 wins from four starts in 2020, including her three quarter length defeat of Ghaiyyath – established then as the world’s outstanding racehorse – in the G1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) at Leopardstown last month.

“She went by herself at York and just lost interest,” is how her trainer Aidan O’Brien mainly explains a sole omission, her previous three lengths defeat by Ghaiyyath in August’s G1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2051m) at York.

Ridden by Ryan Moore that day, she was partnered by Seamie Heffernan at Leopardstown who this time did not allow the pace-pushing Ghaiyyath a moment’s peace.

O’Brien says: “We are learning all the time and we know that when you get into a battle with Magical that’s when she really shows what she can do.” 

Magical would surely have plundered even more G1’s but for the misfortune of competing in the same years as the now-retired superstar Enable, but O’Brien sounds quietly confident of lifting another top trophy with the daughter of Galileo on Saturday: “She loved this race last year, and it is into the autumn that she usually starts to progress. She’s an amazing filly.”

Like Magical, Addeybb, who finished second to her in this race last year, has enjoyed a light but highly rewarding year. The powerful Newmarket-trained gelding – who loves wet conditions has made massive progress since cheekpieces were added last year – crossing the world to plunder two Australian G1’s – the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in April. And, though looking in difficulty 600m out, his class and determination got him through when prepping for this with a win in the Listed Doonside Cup (2000m) at Ayr last month.

Jockey Tom Marquand said: “Yes, he looked in trouble there but typically when I gave him a couple of flicks with the whip he put his head down and got on with it. His trainer (William Haggas) has nailed how to get him ready for the big days, so Addeybb should be spot on for Saturday.”

Other threats to Magical on Britain’s richest race day –  featuring four G1’s – include G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m) winner Mishriff  (Frankie Dettori) along with his smart fellow John Gosden-trained four-year-old Lord North (James Doyle).

And let’s not forget French challenger Skalleti, who has never been beaten on soft or heavy ground. His supporters will be delighted to hear that testing conditions are currently predicted for Ascot on Saturday.