Magical puts in brave display on tough British Champions Day for the Irish

Six year-old struggled to live up to history-making occasion but dug in to finish third

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Magical came through well late on but could not catch Addeybb in the British Champion Stakes

Magical displayed her class to finish third in the Champion Stakes but could not make history on British Champions Day at Ascot, writes Bradley West.

The star six-year-old mare had been favourite to join the likes of Tristan and Lemberg in recording multiple wins in the 1m2f contest but was powerless to prevent her main rival of 12 months prior, Addeybb, going one better this time around for William Haggas. 

The seven-time Group One winner, who has responded to almost being retired last year with a fantastic 2020 season, had been targeting becoming the first horse to achieve three wins on British Champions Day.  

And an eighth top-level victory would have broke new ground for trainer Aidan O’Brien too, making Magical O’Brien’s most successful horse at Group One level, but the daughter of Galileo never really got going and it took a brave finish to drag herself onto the podium in the end. 

There was, however, better news for Ireland in the day-ending Balmoral Handicap where Jessica Harrington’s Njord took the 1m contest ahead of Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone. 

But, overall it was a difficult day for the Irish prospects with O’Brien’s camp in particular falling short. 

His main hope Dawn Patrol could only finish sixth behind stablemate Sovereign in the opening race of the day, the British Champions Long Distance Cup, as Dermot Weld’s Search For A Song proved no match for Alan King’s Trueshan to finish second. 

It was a sensational day for young British star jockey Hollie Doyle as she piloted the four-year-old to win the opener before claiming her first Group One success on Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel in the British Champion Sprint Stakes – O’Brien’s Lope Y Fernandez finishing seventh. 

O’Brien did enjoy some better luck in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes as Passion claimed third as David Menuisier’s Wonderful Tonight took the £198,485 first prize. 

Meanwhile, Circus Maximus came tenth for O’Brien in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, won by Francis-Henri Graffard’s The Revenant.  

The daughter of Galileo never really got going and it took a brave finish to drag herself onto the podium in the end.

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