Dubai: Irish-trained Magical showed herself to be an admirable mare when extracting revenge on Godolphin champion Ghaiyyath to win the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on a sensational Saturday’s racing around the world.
A perfect four from four this year, the Godolphin-bred son of Dubawi looked to have every chance inside the final two furlongs of the mile and six furlong contest, but his tremendous acceleration deserted him as Magical ground him down for a well-desered three-quarter length victory.
Magical was three lengths behind Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York earlier this year, but the consistent five-year-old daughter of the brilliant Galileo showed rare battling qualities under a hard ride by Seamie Heffernan to emerge a worthy winner.
The winner was trained by Aidan O’Brien, whose son, Joseph O’Brien made history at Doncaster in the UK when he became the first man to ride and train a St Leger winner since Harry Wragg in the 1930s.
O’Brien’s historic win came, courtesy Galileo Chrome, who won a thrilling renewal of the final Classic of the British racing season.
Ridden by Tom Marquand, who was picking up a spare ride after Shane Crosse tested positive for COVID-19, the winner was delivered late to narrowly deny Berkshire Rocco in a thrilling final furlong battle. Irish Derby winner Santiago was third.
“It’s a dream-come-true. I genuinely feel terrible for Shane. Racing’s a great leveller. To pick up a spare ride like this in a British Classic for Joseph O’Brien of all people is incredible,” a delighted Marquand told ITV Racing.
Champers Elysees prevails
Meanwhile, Johnny Murtagh, a five-time champion jockey who won the Epsom Derby three times, finally recorded the biggest win of his training career when Champers Elysees captured the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Ridden by Colin Keane, Champers Elysees scored from Peaceful with Fancy Blue third.
Widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest flat jockeys, Murtagh quit the saddle in 2013 having ridden winners all around the world including Dubai and set out on a training career.
“These Group Ones are hard to come by so I’m absolutely delighted,” said Murtagh, who watched the race with his wife Orla from the deserted grandstand. “It’s a marvellous day and a great win.
“It’s been a brilliant year, but to win a Group One on Champions Weekend means everything. That’s why we get up in the morning.
“We believe we have the team to compete in Group Ones and we want to be on this stage,” he added.
“I have to say thanks to my wife, my family, as they have been very supportive and to all the staff back at the stables and everybody who supports us, including the owners, through a tricky year.”
Elsewhere, it was close but Desert Fire landed the EBF Conditions Stakes for legendary Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour at Lingfield’s turf track. Ridden by Hector Crouch, the winner scored by half a length from the Charlie Appleby-trained Walton Street, the mount of jockey Hollie Doyle.