A Magical moment on QIPCO British Champions Day in 2020?
QIPCO Champion Stakes favourite Magical is chasing a slice of history, as she attempts to become the first horse to win three times on QIPCO British Champions Day.
The five-year-old recorded the first of her seven G1 victories in the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and returned last year to beat the boys in the 10-furlong feature that she contests again today.
A daughter of Galileo, Magical has won three of her four starts at Group 1 level in 2020, latterly overcoming Ghaiyyath in a thrilling renewal of the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12.
No filly or mare has won successive runnings of the QIPCO Champion Stakes this century, a feat achieved twice previously by Alborada (1997 & 1998) and the mighty Triptych (1986 & 1987).
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has sent out eight winners on British Champions Day, said this week: “Magical ran in this race last year and loved it.
“It was a great race the last day, they went a nice even pace, and she was happy to make the running or get a lead.
“She is very solid filly and tactically she can stand by herself. She doesn’t depend on anyone else to help her and is very happy to plough her own furrow. She is a great filly and we have seen how consistent she has been.
“She has run in all the top G1 races since she was a two-year-old. A lot of horses who train on to be [top] older horses don’t always compete at the top as two-year-olds, but she has. There does not seem to be any ceiling to her.”
5yo b m Galileo – Halfway To Heaven (Pivotal)
Wins: 12 including 7 x G1
Total earnings: £4,012,726
O’Brien launches a three-pronged assault on the QIPCO Champion Stakes, with Magical joined by dual Group 1 winner Japan and Investec Derby hero Serpentine. Both horses were forced to miss the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe due to contaminated feed.
The trainer added: “We have been happy with Japan [since he had to miss the Arc] and we think he’s in a good place; better than for his runs before. We are looking forward to seeing him run again.
“We were really looking forward to the Arc with Serpentine and his prep for that was very good – we felt he had moved up plenty from his prep run [fourth in Grand Prix de Paris] and done very well physically, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Going update from Ascot’s Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels
Chris Stickels, Clerk of the Course at Ascot, reported at 11.00am: “The current going for QIPCO British Champions Day is Soft, Heavy in places.
“There is a chance with a dry morning that we may go to Soft on the Straight Course, remaining Soft, Heavy in places on the Round Course.
“It was dry overnight and we are expecting a dry if overcast day.”