Magical sparkles as O'Brien ends Irish Derby Festival with magnificent seven


And he could fire some of his Irish Derby team at next weekend's English Derby at Epsom

Sunday, June 28, 2020
Magical, with jockey Seamie Heffernan taking the ride, was too good on her seasonal reappearance at the Curragh, winning the Pretty Polly Stakes

Magical, with jockey Seamie Heffernan taking the ride, was too good on her seasonal reappearance at the Curragh, winning the Pretty Polly Stakes


Aidan O’Brien banked a magnificent seven in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival - and now the head scratching really starts.

After his 14th win in the showpiece on Saturday, Santiago leading home a 1-2-3-4 for the Ballydoyle handler, O'Brien and jockey Seamie Heffernan banked a Sunday treble at the Curragh.

And the undoubted highlight was the performance of star filly Magical, a winner of the Irish and British Champions Stakes last season, who cruised to a fifth career Group One win in the Pretty Polly Stakes.

The decision to keep the horse training into a five-year old season now sets up a potential summer of fascinating showdowns with English rival Enable, who narrowly lowered her colours twice in succession last year.

And Heffernan is in no doubt that Magical, fifth in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, could be heading back to Longchamp for another crack at Europe's richest race this October.

"She's just a queen, I rode her like it was a piece of work and I know she'll improve for it. She's a push-button ride in a Group One, just top class and you couldn't ask for more.

"It is like being in a car, you just press the accelerator on her and away you go. She's got buckets of class and she still has that attitude and will to win."

Enable is due to start her six-year old season at the Coral-Eclipse, part of the Qipco British Champions Series, at Sandown on Sunday.

Last year Magical was just beaten by John Gosden's stable star in the same race, before taking second again next time out at York.

Both are being primed for a tilt at the Arc - Enable chasing history as she bids for a third win in four years - but a clash closer to home in preparation would be mouthwatering.

Meanwhile, O'Brien has not ruled out firing some of his Irish Derby squad at Saturday's Derby at Epsom, knowing one more victory on the Downs would move him into a league of his own with eight career wins.

O'Brien's Hampton Court Stakes winner Russian Emperor, Irish 2,000 Guineas second Vatican City and Mogul were due to lead the charge.

But final entries on Monday could see some additions from the Curragh team.

"Nothing is definitely ruled out," he told Racing TV.

“They didn’t do much today but they’ll do a canter tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll speak sometime through the morning and then see what they want to do, but it’s not impossible."

Meanwhile, he insists all is well with his two rising star fillies, English 1000 Guineas winner Love and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Peaceful, who are due to clash in the third classic of the English season, with the Oaks staged on the same day at the Derby next weekend.

"Love's working towards the Oaks and Peaceful is as well," he added.

 

It's like being in a car, you just press the accelerator on her and away you go. She's got buckets of class and she still has that attitude and will to win.
- Seamie Heffernan on Magical 

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