Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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MAGICAL heads Aidan O’Brien’s strong hand in the Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes, the feature race on QIPCO British Champion’s Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Magical targets back-to-back wins in the 10-furlong contest that carries prize money of £750,000, and also her third successive win on Champions Day having won the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes in 2018.
The daughter of Galileo last year looked set for retirement after scoring by three-quarters of a length from Addeybb who reopposes on Saturday. However, connections opted to keep Magical in training and been rewarded with three Group 1 wins this term – the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes and Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and, at her last start, the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Magical heads the betting at 7-4 in field off 11 runners where she will be accompanied by stablemates Serpentine (16-1), this year’s runaway Investec Derby winner, and last year’s Juddmonte International winner Japan, who is a great each-way bet at 14-1.
Aidan O’Brien said: “We were delighted that the lads decided to keep Magical in training this year and we feel that she came forward from last year.
“It’s into the autumn that she usually starts to progress and we saw that the last day at Leopardstown. This has been the target since.
“She’s in good form and she ran in this race last year and loved it. It was a great race the last day, they went a nice even pace and she was happy to make the running or get a lead.
“She’s a very solid filly and tactically she can stand by herself, she doesn’t depend on anyone else to help her, she’s very happy to plough her own furrow. She’s a great filly and we’ve seen how consistent she’s been.
“She has run in all the top Group 1s since she was a two-year-old. A lot of horses who train on to be [top] older horses don’t always compete at the top as two-year-olds, but she has. There doesn’t seem to be any ceiling to her,” the trainer told QIPCO British Champions Day representatives.
“We’ve been happy with Japan [since he had to miss the Arc] and we think he’s in a good place; better than for his runs before. We are looking forward to seeing him run again.
“We were really looking forward to the Arc with Serpentine and his prep for that was very good – we felt he had moved up plenty from his prep run and done very well physically, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’re very happy with him at home at the moment and it will be interesting. He’s a very relaxed horse at home and doesn’t overdo himself, but we think he has the class to cope with it [the drop in trip].”
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