Star filly heads O’Brien ‘Magical’ Longines Irish Champions Weekend battalion


Wednesday, August 14, 2019
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Magical


Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has confirmed dual Group 1-winning filly Magical as his number one hope for the QIPCO Irish Champions Stakes, the feature race on day one of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Saturday September 14.

O’Brien’s historic Ballydoyle yard was this morning the scene for the launch of the biggest weekend in Irish flat racing at Leopardstown on September 14, and at the Curragh on Sunday September 15. Now in its sixth year, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend will feature six Group 1 races and record prize-money. 

And while international competition has been a feature of the concept, Ireland’s champion trainer is also the leading trainer at Longines Irish Champions Weekend with 17 winners including the likes of Gleneagles in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, Minding in the Moyglare Stud Stakes in 2015 and Order Of St George in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger in 2015 and 2017.  

Champion trainer in Ireland for the first time in 1997, O’Brien has won the national crown every year since 1999 and rewrote the record books with 28 Group/Grade 1 wins in a whirlwind 2017 season which saw him comfortably better Bobby Frankel’s 2003 record of 25. He has been the leading or joint-leading trainer at Longines Irish Champions Weekend ever since its inception in 2014. His best total over the two days is five winners in 2017. 

Speaking at Ballydoyle this morning where he galloped a number of his stable stars, including the dual Group 1 winner Magical, for the assembled press and Longines Irish Champions Weekend sponsors, O’Brien said: “Magical has had a break since her last run and the plan is for her to either go to the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown with or without a run. We also have Circus Maximus, Japan, Anthony Van Dyck and Sir Dragonet as possible runners.”

O’Brien added: “For the Coolmore Stud Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, we are looking at Hermosa and Just Wonderful while Mount Everest could be one for the Kilternan Stakes. 

“Lancaster House will go for the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes and Never No More is also a possible there. Lope Y Fernandez and Toronto are two possible runners in the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes.

“At the Curragh on day two, we are looking at maybe running Armory, Arizona and Royal Lytham in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes while Love could go for the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

“Both Capri and Kew Gardens are potential runners in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger while in the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes we have Ten Sovereigns and Fairyland as possibles. We are looking at the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes for Pink Dogwood and Fleeting.”

An addition to this year’s event is The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland on the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh. Legendary jockeys, including AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh, Richard Hughes, Charlie Swan and Joseph O'Brien, have been assembled by Smullen for the race at the Curragh on day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday, September 15.

All monies raised for The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland and other various fund-raising activities over Longines Irish Champions weekend will be donated to Cancer Trials Ireland for their work into pancreatic cancer trials and research. 

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “Longines Irish Champions Weekend gives us so much to look forward to next month at Leopardstown and the Curragh as the 2019 Flat season turns for home. It is fitting that we launch this hugely important weekend at the home of our finest Flat racing ambassador, Aidan O'Brien, who continues to bring our sport to a wider audience with his phenomenal achievements in Ireland and abroad. The Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland brings an extra dimension to the weekend and Pat’s race at the Curragh is sure to be as keenly contested as any other over the two days.”

O’Brien said: “Magical has had a break since her last run and the plan is for her to either go to the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown with or without a run. We also have Circus Maximus, Japan, Anthony Van Dyck and Sir Dragonet as possible runners.”

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