Magician lands ninth Irish 2,000 Guineas for O’Brien
Impressive colt sees off quality field at the Curragh
Jockey Joseph O’Brien rides Magician to victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photograph: Barry Cronin/PA Wire
Magician gave Aidan O’Brien his ninth victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh this afternoon.
Sent off at 100 to 30 and ridden by the trainer’s son, Joseph, the colt followed a strong pace set firstly by Ask Dad, and then by the Jim Bolger representative Trading Leather, who still looked in control with a couple of furlongs remaining.
O’Brien junior never panicked and Magician powered clear to end up a convincing winner, with Gale Force Ten completing a Ballydoyle one-two.
There were numerous disappointments, with Ask Dad’s stablemate Fort Knox, ridden and trained by Johnny Murtagh, never looking likely to give the jockey the perfect start to his spell as a licence-holder.
Neither was Richard Hannon’s 5 to 2 favourite Van Der Neer ever in any form of contention as the Irish colts proved superior once again.
Magician, who still holds entries in the Investec Derby as well as the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, was stepping back in trip after winning the Dee Stakes but clearly had no problems with the mile as he collected by three and a half lengths. Trading Leather held on for third.
O’Brien junior, winning his third Irish 2,000, said: “He’s a very, very tough horse and tries very hard. He stays well, he handles fast ground, he relaxes. He’s a horse that is improving every day.
“We went a nice gallop, I was always very happy throughout the whole race. I was able to dictate things my own way.
“After passing the three (furlong marker) I was very, very happy. I thought it would take a really, really good one to come and get me. He galloped all the way to the line. He has loads of pace. I think the key to him is fast ground.
“He settles very well and he has a great attitude — I couldn’t say he wouldn’t get further than 10 furlongs, either.”
Coolmore supremo John Magnier told At The Races: “He did it well you have to say, he was impressive. This is an improving horse and being by Galileo he should stay further.
“We’ll discuss it (plans), but all there are all kinds of options. We could go the St James’s Palace route, and we’ve done crazy things before — we could run him at Epsom or go for the Eclipse. I’m saying that (Epsom) tongue in cheek, but we could. We’ll savour the moment and not get carried away.”
O’Brien senior said: “We weren’t sure coming back (to a mile) after a mile and a quarter but obviously they (Coolmore owners) made the right decision.
“Cristoforo Colombo just wasn’t 100 per cent for here so I wouldn’t have been able to make the decision but the boys made it themselves and it was obviously the right one.
“Joseph said he felt really good. They went a strong gallop, from halfway he let him stride on and he said he went to the line really strong. He’s a very exciting horse.
“He’s very straightforward at home. He’s very calm but also very sharp and he can go from being very calm to being very sharp, very quick and usually that’s in the good horses, he has that.
“He’s by Galileo which makes him extra special and when he has that kind of speed and looks like that, he’s very exciting. He’s so straightforward, Joseph could have made the running or dropped him in, he’s uncomplicated and that’s a great sign of a horse.
“Everyone knows he won a mile and a quarter very well at Chester and to get a strong mile like that, you have to stay a mile and a quarter, especially here at the Curragh.
“He travelled up there and was closest to the pace, travelling easier than anything.
“He’s a very solid horse and exciting. He’s a beautiful horse, lovely head, big ears and a great behind on him — he’s built like a real miler but he stays further than a mile.
“He has a lot of options now. Obviously he could go to the St. James’s Palace Stakes. Next week (Epsom Derby) would come too quick for him, you’d imagine.”