Can Magical raise her game at the Fillies & Mares Stakes?

Magical was dominant in the early stages of the 2019 flat season in Ireland, but has not been able to conjure a victory in the United Kingdom in the second half of the campaign. Aidan O'Brien will be hopeful that his charge will be able to end the term with a flourish, particularly in the defence of her British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes crown at Ascot in October.

O’Brien faces a decision whether to race the bay filly in the Fillies & Mares Stakes or whether to select her to compete in the Champion Stakes or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Magical is the leading contender in the horse racing betting odds for the former as she looks to win the title for the second year on the bounce, although there will be competition from Coronet, Enbihaar and potentially the outstanding mare Enable.

The Irish-bred horse began her campaign at Naas in the Alleged Stakes where she was evens to claim the victory. Magical delivered on expectations with a dominant performance, finishing four-and-a-half lengths ahead of her stable-mate Flag Of Honour. The two horses would face off once again in their next outing at Curragh in the Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes.

Ryan Moore was at the reins of the four-year-old once again, who was the odds-on favourite for the clash. On this occasion, Flag Of Honour pushed Magical to bring out the best in the bay filly. She was forced to react after her stable-mate took the lead, but was able to up the ante to close before surging ahead with two furlongs remaining. Moore then ensured that his charge closed out the win by a comfortable margin to continue her impressive start to the term.

The Gold Cup in Curragh was next on the agenda, and Magical pitted her wits against Flag Of Honour for the third time. Moore delivered a fine ride in the saddle as the Irish-bred horse put forward a brilliant performance down the stretch, beating out Seamie Heffernan on her stable-mate by four lengths.

As a result of her performances, Magical arrived at Royal Ascot as the favourite for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. A battle would ensue with Crystal Ocean for the crown, but it would be one that O’Brien’s charge would lose, failing to match the pace of her rival to succumb to her first defeat of the campaign.

Another outstanding horse lay in wait at The Eclipse at Sandown Park as Magical aimed to end the winning run of Enable. The four-year-old put everything out on the track in her bid to close on John Gosden’s charge down the stretch, but her rival had enough to see out the victory by three-quarters of a length. Enable was again the opponent in the Yorkshire Oaks, but this time it was a straightforward win for the bay mare as Magical was once again forced to settle for second place.

O’Brien’s charge has been impressive in her career, but has had trouble this season raising the standard of her displays against the truly elite competitors. Magical could face Enable again in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes where she will have to get over the hump and perhaps produce the performance of a lifetime to end her campaign on a high note.

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