Magical handed Filly & Mare Turf mission at Breeders’ Cup


Aidan O’Brien has confirmed the Filly & Mare Turf as the intended Breeders’ Cup target for his brilliant filly Magical.

Although so often the bridesmaid behind Enable – including in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf – Magical has managed to win three times at Group One level this season, landing the Tattersalls Gold Cup, the Irish Champion Stakes and last Saturday’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.

She is set to be covered by Coolmore stallion No Nay Never next year, but will first head to Santa Anita next week – and while the Turf had been nominated as her first preference target, she is instead set to run against her own sex.

O’Brien clarified his big race line-up after the release of the pre-entries for the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships following a visit to Ballydoyle by the Coolmore partners, John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

“We have just had a meeting there with the lads.

Magical is going to go to No Nay Never next year and if everything is well, it will be the Filly & Mare Turf that she would run in,” the trainer told

“She is an incredible mare, a very special filly with an unbelievable constitution, unbelievable mind and powerful and strong.

She’s been second to Enable that many times and we’ve had her ticking over with the autumn in mind.

“Everything has been good with her since Ascot.

She will probably do something at the weekend and we hope she can stay healthy.

O’Brien went on to confirm Investec Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck and Mount Everest will bid to provide Ballydoyle with a seventh victory in the 12-furlong Turf, with Magical likely to be joined by Fleeting and Just Wonderful in the mile-and-a-quarter Filly & Mare.

Of Anthony Van Dyck, the trainer said: “The only time he blotted his copybook was in the King George in Ascot on soft ground when we shouldn’t have ran him.

“He’s a real fast ground specialist who gets a mile and a half well.

We think the race will suit him.

Fairyland and So Perfect are both pencilled in for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Circus Maximus is a prime candidate for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile.

O’Brien said: “He (Circus Maximus) has been very good back at a mile and we were delighted with him the last day (won the Prix du Moulin).

The plan was always to go to the Breeders’ Cup Mile with him.

We think the track and everything will suit him well.

O’Brien will have a busy first day of the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting with King Neptune in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, four entries in the Juvenile Turf – Arizona, Fort Myers, New World Tapestry and Royal Dornoch – plus Etoile and Tango in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, for which Precious Moments is first reserve.

Also in line for the Juvenile Turf Sprint is Simon Crisford’s Norfolk Stakes and Flying Childers winner A’Ali and his stablemate Al Raya.

Ed Crisford, assistant to his father, believes victory for A’Ali would stamp him as the “best five furlong two-year-old there is around”.

He said: “He’s been an incredibly consistent colt over five furlongs.

His only real disappointment was in the Prix Morny, in which he was fifth.

That was on testing ground over six furlong, but he still ran all right.

“He won the Norfolk, beating some proper horses, so we have had this race in the back of our minds and once he won the Flying Childers we decided to get him ready for this race.

“There aren’t many five-furlong Group On races for two-year-old, but if he were to win a Breeders’ Cup, it would really stamp him as the best five furlong two-year-old there is around.

Frankie Dettori will ride A’Ali, with William Buick set to partner Al Raya – winner of the Group Three Prix d’Arenberg last time.