Magician Gives O'Brien 9th Irish Guineas Win
Trainer Aidan O'Brien tallied a ninth victory in the Tattersalls Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Aus-I) when Magician struck for a dominant win in the classic May 25 at the Curragh.
Cutting back to a mile after an impressive victory in the 1 1/4-mile Betvictor.com Dee Stakes (Eng-III) May 10 at Chester, the Galileo colt scored by 3 1/2 lengths from stablemate Gale Force Ten in a one-two finish for O'Brien.
With his son Joseph at the reins, Magician tracked from third behind the swift early pace of Ask Dad before Trading Leather took charge and led with a quarter-mile still to run. Magician willingly responded to the challenge when O'Brien guided him off the rail and soon settled the matter, shaking free with powerful strides.
Runner-up Gale Force Ten came in off a close fourth in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Fr-I), or French Two Thousand Guineas, May 12. He smartly quickened under Seamus Heffernan to outfinish Trading Leather, who hung on to third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back.
Van Der Neer, the 5-2 favorite with Racing Post after finishing third in the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) earlier this month at Newmarket, never threatened in an eighth-place finish.
At 3-1 odds, Magician was timed in 1:36.81 to join O'Brien's eight previous winners of the one-mile test: Power (2012), Roderic O'Connor (2011), Mastercraftsman (2009), Henrythenavigator (2008), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Black Minnalouche (2001), Saffron Walden (1999), and Desert King (1997).
"He's a very, very tough horse and tries very hard," Joseph O'Brien told the Irish Independent after winning the race for the third straight year.
"We went a nice gallop, I was always very happy throughout the whole race. I was able to dictate things my own way.
"After passing the three (furlong marker) I was very, very happy. I thought it would take a really, really good one to come and get me. He galloped all the way to the line."
Magician and Gale Force Ten made up half the foursome sent out by O'Brien. Stablemates Flying The Flag and 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) victor George Vancouver finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 10-horse field.
First Cornerstone, racing for U.S.-based syndicate Team Valor, was fourth with three furlongs to run but could muster nothing more and finished fifth.
The race also ended in disappointment for jockey Johnny Murtagh, whose two runners for his newly minted training career saw a ninth-place finish by Fort Knox, whom he also rode, while Ask Dad, faded to 10th and last.
Magician has three wins and a second from six career starts. He entered the Irish Guineas off his convincing four-length win in his season debut in the Dee Stakes, a trial for the Epsom Derby (Eng-I), in which he uncoiled a devastating rally in the straight and drew clear in the closing stages.
Irish-bred Magician, owned by Coolmore and associates, remains eligible for the 1 1/2-mile Derby June 1 as well as the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at a mile on opening day at Royal Ascot June 18.
He is the second winner from as many foals out of the Mozart mare Absolutelyfabulous, a stakes-winning sprinter from the family of dual classic winner and Coolmore sire Henrythenavigator and European group I winners Sequoyah and Listen. He was bred by Absolutelyfabulous Syndicate.
Magician is one of at least a dozen European classic winners for Galileo, a 15-year-old son of Sadler's Wells, who stands at Coolmore Stud in Ireland and currently leads the English/Irish sire list by winners and progeny earnings.
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