Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Magical gets the better of Ghaiyyath in Irish Champion Stakes

World’s best-rated horse suffers first defeat in four starts this year

Magical, ridden by Seamus Heffernan, beats Ghaiyyath to win the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes on day one of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown Racecourse. PA
Magical, ridden by Seamus Heffernan, beats Ghaiyyath to win the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes on day one of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown Racecourse. PA

Magical avenged her defeat to Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath in an epic rematch and complete back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Aidan O’Brien’s star mare, under Seamie Heffernan, didn’t allow Ghaiyyath to dictate the race. She raced alongside him before moving to the lead on the final furlong to win by three-quarter lengths.

In their previous meeting, Ghaiyyath came home three lengths clear of Magical in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York on August 19.

The result took Magical’s tally to 12 wins, including seven Group 1s, in 25 career starts.

The five-year-old Galileo mare also became just the second horse to win two editions of the Irish Champion Stakes, since Dylan Thomas did the double in 2006 and 2007 for the same trainer.

“She's a great mare and all credit to the lads for keeping her in training.” O’Brien said.

“They made the call through the winter and other than that we wouldn't have her here. She's an incredible mare.

“She's tough, genuine, determined, has speed – she has everything. I'm over the moon and Seamie gave her a brilliant ride.”

Ghaiyyath, the world’s best-rated horse after his Group 1 hat-trick this year, suffered his first defeat in four starts this year.

“We were delighted Ghaiyyath came and it made the race,” O’Brien added.

“You win some and lose some, and we get beaten loads of times in good races, but you have to compete. That's what it's all about.

“You can't expect to win everyday, but when your turns comes you're delighted. Ghaiyyath is a great horse and it was great he came.

“We just felt York didn't work 100 per cent for us and today she eyeballed him all the way, so we're delighted.

“We were very happy to make the running today and if Ghaiyyath wanted to take a lead we'd be happy and if he made the running we were going to go with him.

“It was always going to be a solid even match all the way and whoever was behind could have come along and come and got us, but we just took the chance that we'd let her and him match up, go stride for stride and see.”

Elsewhere at Doncaster, Joseph O’Brien’s Galileo Chrome won the English St Leger to become only the second man to ride and train the final English Classic prize after Harry Wragg achieved that feat in the 1930s.

With Tom Marquand atop, the son of Australia edged out Berkshire Rocco and Pyledriver by a neck and one and-a-quarter lengths respectively.

Updated: September 13, 2020 09:09 AM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email