Magical is Just That in Irish Champion Stakes

Magical’s victory earned her an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

Magical won Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes earning a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf. . (Photo credit: Leopardstown Racecourse).

Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 4-year-old filly Magical (IRE) took command two furlongs out and defeated stablemates Magic Wand (IRE) and Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) for a 2 ¼-length victory under jockey Ryan Moore in Saturday’s $1.441 million, 1 ¼-mile QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown. Magical’s victory earned her an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien saddled the first three finishers in the race, while claiming his eighth Irish Champion Stakes.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on Nov. 1-2. As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Magical to start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

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Magical, a bay daughter of Galileo (IRE) out of the Pivotal (GB) mare Halfway to Heaven (IRE), joins George Washington (BRZ), Crystal Ocean (GB), Lys Gracieux (JPN), Enable (GB), Bricks and Mortar, Acclimate, Annals of Time and Spanish Mission as the “Win and You’re In” qualifiers thus far for the Longines Turf.

Magical, who was runner-up to Enable (GB) in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, won her fourth race in seven starts this year. She returned to the winner’s circle today after tough defeats against Crystal Ocean in the “Win and You’re In” Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 19 and then to Enable in the Coral Eclipse (G1) at Sandown on July 6, and again in the “Win and You’re In” Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) at York on Aug. 22. Magical won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) at The Curragh earlier this year.

Irish Champion Stakes Replay

Sent away as the 11-10 favorite in the eight-horse field of the Irish Champion, Magical tracked comfortably behind pacesetting stablemate Hunting Horn (IRE) through the first mile before being roused by Moore and sending her to the front with two furlongs remaining. Both the 4-year-old filly Magic Wand, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, and the 3-year-old Anthony Van Dyck, who won the Investec Derby (G1), tried to stay close, but were no match for the winner.

The 5-year-old Japanese mare Deirdre (JPN), winner of the Nassau Stakes (G1) at Goodwood, came on strongly to finish fourth. She was followed in order by Headman (GB), Madmoon (IRE), Elarqam (GB) and Hunting Horn.

Magical covered the 1 ¼ miles in 2:06.49 over a course listed as good.

Iridessa Scores in Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes

While 3-5 Laurens (FR), the defending champion, appeared indominable in the one-mile $403,500 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron for fillies and mares, it was the Joseph O’Brien-trained Iridessa (IRE), ridden by Wayne Lordan, who proved the best, passing Hermosa (IRE) in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length, with Just Wonderful finishing third. Both Hermosa and Just Wonderful are trained by Aidan O’Brien, Joseph’s father. With her victory, Iridessa, a 3-year-old bay daughter of Ruler of the World (IRE), earned an automatic berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Iridessa now has three Group 1 wins. She captured the Bet 365 Fillies’ Mile last October at Newmarket, and this year, won the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 28. Today’s win reverses a seventh-place finish in her prior start, the Irish Oaks (G1) on July 20.

She finished today’s Matron in 1:38.81.

The “Win and You’re In” $173,000 KPMG Champions Juvenile (GII) at one mile was dominated by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier’s Mogul (GB), who strode easily to the front with two furlongs remaining under Ryan Moore and won by 1 ¼ lengths at odds of 1-2 over H.H. Aga Khan’s Sinawann (IRE). A 2-year-old son of Galileo out of the Danehill mare Shastye (IRE), Mogul gained the first automatic berth this year into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the Mogul won his second race in three starts, completing the mile in 1:42.59.

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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