A dominant performance from Magical in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes on Sunday continued Aidan O’Brien’s rich vein of form at the Curragh this weekend.
On what was her seasonal reappearance after a 254-day layoff, jockey Seamie Heffernan made the running on Magical before asking the mare for her effort at the two-furlong marker. Once asked to go, there was no catching the daughter of Galileo, who was registering a fifth victory at the highest level.
O’Brien said: “She’s very exciting and always has been. She got stronger over the winter and that’s why the lads brought her back.
“We’d always be talking to them, and the plan was for her to be covered by No Nay Never, but when we told them that they made the decision.
“Something just happened with her over the winter. She transformed. Usually you see that sort of improvement from three to four, but she made it from four to five. The power really came into her body. She has been working really well.”
Magical’s success came a day after Santiago had followed up his Royal Ascot triumph with victory in the Irish Derby.
The son of Authorized, who had taken the 1m6f Queen’s Vase at the royal meeting last week, held off his fast-finishing stablemate Tiger Moth to secure his trainer a 14th winner of the famous race. O’Brien also saddled Dawn Patrol and Order Of Australia in third and fourth.
He said: “We’re delighted with that. He’s a lovely staying type of horse and they went an honest gallop. We thought he might be a St Leger horse and be one to look forward to as a Cup horse next year, and the horses behind him are still babies, so they’re there to look forward to as well.”
Heffernan added: “He’s a tough horse to come back from a mile and six furlongs last week, but the Curragh suited him. Lorcan Donnelly, who rides him out, told me I’d ride another Derby winner and he was right.
“This horse has guts, and, if you have guts you don’t always have to be on the best horse in the race. It wasn’t ideal dropping in, but I took a gamble because of where I was drawn and rode him for luck. Once I put him in gear, he switched up.”