Magical impossible to oppose in Mooresbridge Stakes

First opportunity for paying public to enjoy new facilities at redeveloped Curragh

Aidan O’Brien: champion trainer sends a formidable nine-strong team to the Curragh.  Photograph: Tom Beary

Aidan O’Brien: champion trainer sends a formidable nine-strong team to the Curragh. Photograph: Tom Beary

 

A long-awaited new era starts at the redeveloped Curragh on Bank Holiday Monday and the bang-in-form Aidan O’Brien will hope to begin it in style.

The trainer, who has dominated the “Home of the Classics” with over 90 Group One victories over 22 years, sends a nine-strong team headed by the top filly Magical in the Group Two Coolmore Mooresbridge Stakes.

The Group One winner beat two of 2018’s Curragh classic winners, Latrobe and Flag Of Honour, at Naas earlier this month and the trio bring an appropriate top-flight feel to a significant occasion.

The official opening of the €80 million facelift to Ireland’s most famous racecourse won’t take place until the start of the Guineas festival later this month.

A recent trial outing of the extensive new facilities was broadly welcomed by professionals such as jockeys and trainers.

But Monday is the first opportunity for the paying public to examine a flagship development for Irish racing that has been financed by both private investors and the State through Horse Racing Ireland.

A total of 81 runners are due to line up in the final three handicaps on the eight -race card.

O’Brien is represented in the first five contests – four of them black type – and a definitive tone could be set for the upcoming Curragh campaign.

Magical is impossible to oppose in the Mooresbridge while better ground should suit Happen when she lines up for the Athasi Stakes.

A repeat of her run when splitting Lady Kaya and Iridessa in last month’s Leopardstown trial might be good enough anyway but improvement looks likely.

The Dundalk winner King Neptune has been part of Ballydoyle’s sparkling start to the juvenile season and looks to set the standard in the Listed Flier Stakes.

Ryan Moore is on the Invincible Spirit newcomer Harpocrates – named after the Greek God of confidentiality – in the opening maiden and on the 106 rated Antilles in the Tetrarch Stakes.

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