It was perhaps the forgotten part of the Irish Derby weekend, but Aidan O’Brien’s stable-star Magical’s return to action won’t soon be dismissed. Although some had doubts about her fitness, she shrugged those off with a dominant front-running display that showed without any shadow of a doubt, that Magical is better than ever.
Return Of A Queen
Magical doesn’t always get the credit she deserves, and much of that is due to her being around during an era of Enable dominance. Last seen winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot back in October, she was returning from her longest-ever layoff at the Curragh on Sunday.
She brushed that off in grand style, however, and never saw another rival in a dominant front-running display under Seamie Heffernan. Retirement was on the cards for her after missing the Breeders’ Cup last November, which makes her return to action all the more impressive and is a testament to the team at Ballydoyle.
Getting Back On track
Speaking of her racecourse return, Aidan O’Brien said: “She got stronger over the winter and that’s why the lads brought her back. We’d always be talking to them and the plan was for her to be covered by No Nay Never, but when we told them that they made the decision”.
That decision has clearly paid dividends, with O’Brien continuing to say: “Something just happened with her over the winter. She transformed. Usually you see that sort of improvement from three to four, but she made it from four to five. The power really came into her body“.
Over the past few seasons, Magical has been one of the horses who has given Enable a real fright. Twice last campaign, she forced Enable to give her all, including when a close second in the Coral-Eclipse.
Her return rout suggested that she could be even stronger than previous seasons. She was entitled to be landing her return, given the calibre of opposition, she did so in a manner that suggested it was a season to be excited about for connections.
It’s unsurprising to see Magical be inserted into the top of the markets for a range of top-class races, with the mare now a five-time Group 1 winner perhaps eclipsing her previous peak. Speaking of the options to connections, O’Brien continued: “She is very good over ten furlongs and gets a mile and a half as well, so all those races are open to her now. I don’t think it really matters to her, but the King George is the obvious race to look at now“.
A general 4/1 shot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the only rival ahead of her in the market is old adversary Enable, and another “Clash of the Titans” could be an early race of the season contender.
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