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Magical performance provides O’Brien with first QIPCO Champion Stakes

19 Oct 2019

Brilliant filly lights up Champions Day by stamping her class on Europe's most valuable mile and a quarter race

Donnacha O’Brien admires Magical after her Champion Stakes triumph. Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

Magical stamped her class on the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien’s ultra-consistent four-year-old won the Fillies And Mares Stakes on the corresponding card 12 months ago, since when she has trebled her Group One tally with victories in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Irish Champion Stakes.

During the same period she has finished second to old foe Enable in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Coral-Eclipse and the Yorkshire Oaks, as well as filling the runner-up spot behind Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot and finishing fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Turning out less than a fortnight after her latest appearance in Paris, there might have been doubts about whether Magical would be able to produce her brilliant best in the testing conditions, but she got the job done in the hands of Donnacha O’Brien.

The even-money favourite travelled powerfully on the heels of the pace-setting Regal Reality for much of the 10-furlong contest before being nudged to the front in the straight.

Confirmed mud-lover Addeybb emerged as the most serious danger, but try as he might, he could never quite get on terms with Magical, who found enough for pressure to emerge victorious by three-quarters of a length.

Japanese mare Deirdre ran a fine race to finish third, with the lightly-raced Fox Tal also emerging with credit in fourth.

O’Brien was winning the race for the first time and said: “She is just incredible, but she is classy as well. A mile and a half probably stretches her, although she has won over that a mile and a quarter is really her.

“She’s by Galileo which makes her special, they don’t know when to stop. They never hold a grudge and mentally they are unbelievable. She is the most unbelievable mare I’ve seen.

“What can you say about her? She is the ultimate racehorse, that is what she is. She is incredible. It looks like she is still progressing, which is amazing.

“We would love to keep her in training, but the lads will make a decision. They have to decide whether they want to go to the Breeders’ Cup or not, and that would be the next one if they decide they want to go.

“Found was an unbelievable mare and you can definitely compare them well. If she goes to the Breeders’ Cup, she would go to the Filly & Mare Turf.”

William Haggas, trainer of Addeybb, said: “Hats off to that filly (Magical). She’s better than him.

“He has run a really good race today. He liked the conditions, it all went perfectly well, just three-quarters of a length not fast enough. I’m very proud of him. He’s performed with great credit, so I’m delighted.”

Seiko Hashida Yoshimura, racing manager for Deirdre’s owner, Toji Morita, said: “We might think of Hong Kong, but I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how she is. As we have seen today she is so fresh and so brave.

“We have enjoyed our visit. All our team love Britain and British racing. It is so special – every race. It has been unforgettable – a life-changing experience for everyone in the team.

“We may extend our journey to next year. Hopefully we can see her here again next year. We never ran against Enable, so we might see her. That would be another dream. Everyone has to be proud of her. It’s amazing.

“This horse has opened the gate for everyone from Japan.”