LEOPARDSTOWN, IRELAND (Sep. 12, 2020) – Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 5-year-old mare Magical (IRE) won the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) for the second year running to exact revenge on Ghaiyyath (IRE) in a thrilling renewal of the 1 ¼-mile contest. Ghaiyyath, the world’s top-rated horse, had previously beaten Magical in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York, but it was Aidan O’Brien’s star who came out on top today. Magical’s victory earned her an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into corresponding races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.
Magical, a bay daughter of Galileo (IRE) out of the Pivotal (GB) mare Halfway to Heaven (IRE), becomes the first horse since Dylan Thomas (IRE) to win back-to-back Irish Champion Stakes. It was a record ninth win in the race for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Magical, who was runner-up to Enable (GB) in the 2018 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, won her third Group 1 of the season giving her a seventh career success at the highest level.
Sent away at 9/2, Magical ridden by Seamie Heffernan tracked Ghaiyyath from the start before slowly wearing down the long time leader in the final two furlongs. Ghaiyyath under William Buick tried his best to battle back on the inside, but Magical showed incredible bravery and beat Ghaiyyath by ¾ lengths with Armory (IRE) back in third.
When asked whether Magical will head to the Breeders’ Cup, Aidan O’Brien said: “I think so. That will suit her really well. We are learning about her all the time. She eyeballed the colt (Ghaiyyath) all the way. She’s a great filly. I’m over the moon. All credit must go to the lads for keeping her in training this season.”
Magical covered the 1 ¼ miles in 2:05.08 over a course listed as good.
Champers Elysees Scores in Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes
Johnny Murtagh celebrated his first Group 1 win as a trainer as Champers Elysees (IRE) was an impressive winner of the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (G1). The victory gives her an automatic berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Champers Elysees, a bay daughter of Elzaam, is now unbeaten in four starts this season having progressed from a handicap victory at the start of the season to Group 1 glory today.
Johnny Murtagh won three Breeders’ Cup races as a jockey and is eyeing up a trip to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Championships with his Group 1 winning filly. He said: “To win a Group 1 on Irish Champions weekend means everything. The amount she has improved this season is unbelievable. There is the chance to go to the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The mile in America would suit her down to the ground. She’s quick and she’s got a great turn of foot. She’s made for it round there.”
She finished today’s Matron in 1:39.77.
The “Win and You’re In” KPMG Champions Juvenile (G2) at 1-mile was dominated by Alpha Racing’s Cadillac (IRE), who won comfortably under Shane Foley by 3 ½ lengths at odds of 11/8). A 2-year-old son of Lope De Vega out of the Dansili mare Sea Of Wells (IRE), Cadillac gained an automatic berth this year into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
His trainer Jessica Harrington said after the race: “He’s a horse that just goes through the motions at home, you don’t really know how big an engine is in there but it’s fairly big. I’d say all being well his next start will probably be in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.”
Breeders’ Cup Press