O’Brien hoping for something Magical in the Champion Stakes
English star Laurens will be back to defend her crown in the Coolmore Matron
Trainer Aidan O’Brien and Magical. “She is a very good filly.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Magical will lead Aidan O’Brien’s attempt to become the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes’ most successful figure this Saturday. Both O’Brien and Michael Kinane each boast seven wins in the €1.25 million feature of Irish Champions Weekend.
“We have Magical for the Champion Stakes, and she is a very good filly. Others we have in contention for the race include Anthony Van Dyck and Magic Wand,” said O’Brien on Sunday.
Magical once again had to give best to her old rival Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks last time, but is as low as 7-4 favourite to secure a third career Group One on Saturday.
It is eight years since the last of O’Brien’s seven wins in the race, and So You Think was the last Irish-trained winner of the Champion Stakes.
Leopardstown’s other Group One this Saturday is the Coolmore Matron where the English star Laurens will be back to defend her crown. However, she could have to repel a large Ballydoyle team to do so.
O’Brien said: “We have a lot of entries in the Matron, with Hermosa ready for that race. We also have the likes of Happen, I Can Fly and Just Wonderful.
“Goodwood [Nassau Stakes] was disappointing for Hermosa last time, but that was a mess of a race and I don’t think she handled the track.”
The champion trainer has won the Comer Group Irish St Leger in three of the last four years, and will be heavily represented again on Sunday. “It should be a great Leger, and we have Capri, Southern France and Kew Gardens in the mix.”