O’Brien seeking repeat of Breeders’ Cup magic

After Adelaide’s sweet Aussie success, attention now turns to Santa Anita

Magician is set to lead a select Irish raiding party on this week’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and will join a select group if he can record back-to-back wins in Saturday night’s $3 million feature.

The Irish star recorded a thrilling victory in last year’s mile and a half highlight to give Aidan O’Brien an eighth Breeders’ Cup and is a general 6/1 third-favourite behind French star Flintshire and Sir Michael Stoute’s Telescope.

If successful he will join O’Brien’s 2002-03 champion High Chaparral as a repeat winner, on an exclusive list of a dozen horses.

Joseph O’Brien is likely to team up with Magician and Ballydoyle could be doubly represented with €6 million filly Chicquita who O’Brien Snr has indicated is likely to be nominated for the longer race rather than the 10-furlong $2 million Filly & Mare Turf.


Fresh from Adelaide’s ground-breaking Cox Plate victory in Australia on Saturday, O’Brien will try to secure more lucrative Breeders’ Cup prizes with Qualify ($1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf) and War Envoy ($1 million Juvenile Turf) on Friday night while The Great War ($2 million Juvenile) goes on Saturday.

Willie McCreery’s Matron Stakes winner Fiesolana is entered in both the $2 million Mile and the Filly & Mare with the latter seen as a more likely option where she could be joined by Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha.

However the Mile is a definite target for Weld’s Royal Ascot winner Mustajeeb who is a general 13/2 third favourite behind English star Toronado and French colt Anodin.

The reverberations from Adelaide's success are continuing Down Under and the victory will have been particularly sweet for O'Brien whose 2008 attempt on the Melbourne Cup resulted in near ridicule within Australian racing.

Ireland's champion trainer wasn't at Moonee Valley at the weekend but local reports appear to indicate a 2015 return to Ballydoyle for Adelaide hasn't been ruled out. However the colt is set for an immediate switch to the care of local trainer Chris Waller with Tom Magnier, son of Coolmore supremo, John, saying: "He has had a hard season so he will go to the farm this week and have a good break."

Irish interest now switches to next week's Melbourne Cup where Johnny Murtagh plans to run Ebor winner Mutual Regard and the 2012 Irish Leger winner Royal Diamond.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column