Magical Heads O'Brien's Team For Irish Champions Weekend

Irish Champions Weekend

Aidan O'Brien as ever is set to have a stellar team heading into Irish Champions Weekend in September with his middle distance star Magical set to lead the way.

The two day meetings that takes place in just under a month at Leopardstown and the Curragh sees see Group One races across the weekend with the big race of the meeting the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown which was won by the Cartier Horse Of The Year Roaring Lion last year.

The horse he is hoping that can land the feature contest is Magical who has had a good season so far winning her first three races including the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Her last two runs have been frustrating finishing second behind two smart horses, the first at Royal Ascot in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes when just losing out to Crystal Ocean and then at Sandown behind Enable in the Coral Eclipse which now makes it three races in a row John Gosden's five year old has beaten her.

(Credit At The Races) O’Brien said: “We gave Magical a break, but she is now ready to start back.

“The plan is for her to either go to the Irish Champion with or without a run.”

Two other horses that could be seen on Irish Champions Weekend is his 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia who has been waited patienly on this season on running once after his classic win at Newmarket.

He finished fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas where he ran below standard and his trainer is hoping he can get back to his best in September.

Hermosa is another of his troops he will be hoping can bounce back after her horrific display in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood when she finished 49 lengths behind the winner.

He said: “Magna Grecia has had a good break and could run in the Irish Champion Stakes and has the option of then dropping to a mile at Ascot in October (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes).

“He wasn’t the same horse at the Curragh as the one at Newmarket, and Hermosa’s last race was also a non-event and I’d be very happy going back to a mile with her next time (Matron Stakes).”

Regarding Champions Weekend, the 21-times champion trainer added: “The weekend comes at the perfect slot on the calendar and is staged on two unbelievable tracks.

“The Irish Champion Stakes is a very tough race, one of the toughest, as you have to stay and be talented to win.

“We are so lucky to have the Curragh, which is second to none in the world. We go everywhere around the world and it has everything, the viewing, the atmosphere and the potential it has is incredible.

“We should appreciate it and be proud of it.”