Aidan O’Brien-Coolmore 4-timer on Day 1 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend

Magical (11/10f) lived up to her name by putting on a brilliant performance to win the Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, the feature race on Day 1 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

The winning four-year-old daughter of Galileo who has been runner-up to wonder filly Enable in her last two contests at the highest level, and prior to that was also second to Crystal Ocean in a Group 1 at Ascot, deservedly got her head in front under Ryan Moore as she gave her trainer Aidan O’Brien an 8th victory in the 1m 2f contest.

The victor had two-and-a-quarter lengths to spare over her stable companion, 20/1 shot Magic Wand (Seámie Heffernan) with another Ballydoyle inmate, Anthony Van Dyck (12/1), the Investec Derby winner at Epsom in June, completing an Aidan O’Brien-Coolmore clean sweep.

The winner was part of a four-timer for the Co. Tipperary-based outfit, included a Group 2 and a Group 3 success, as well as the opening Listed Stakes.

Blissful (13/2) got Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore and the Coolmore partners off to the perfect start when wearing down the brave front-running Nurse Barbara (7/2) from the Ger Lyons yard in the Listed Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes.

The eventual second, under Colin Keane, was in the vanguard from the stalls and the daughter of Kodiac seemed to increase her lead in the home straight. Blissful came on her outside, under Moore, and only got up when it really mattered, winning by a nose at the line, with Johnny Murtagh’s Pronouncement (11/2) a further three-quarters-of-a-length back in third.

Mogul (1/2f), a brother of Japan, won the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes over a mile, with Ryan Moore in the saddle. The current favourite for next year’s Investec Derby at Epsom held off Michael Halford’s progressive bay son of Kingman, Sinawann (5/1), under Ronan Whelan.

Séamie Heffernan got in on the winning action when riding Noway to victory in the Group 3 Paddy Power Betting Shop Stakes over 1m4f. In a contest where the first four home were O’Brien-trained, three Aidan’s and the runner-up Buckhurst, trained by his son, Joseph.

The winning Norway (7/2jf) crossed the finishing line a length-and-a-quarter ahead of the Lloyd Williams-owned Buckhurst (7/2jf), with the Emmet McNamara-ridden Blenheim Palace (20/1) a neck further back in third, with Ryan Moore on Mount Everest, a short-head further behind in fourth.

Joseph O’Brien’s Iridessa (10/1), winner of the Pretty Polly Stakes earlier in the summer, sprung a surprise when getting back on a winning track by taking the other Group 1 race on the Leopardstown card, the Coolmore ‘Fastnet Rock’ Matron Stakes over a mile.

The Wayne Lordan-ridden filly, bred by Aidan O’Brien’s Whisperview Trading Limited, ironically denied O’Brien Senior a Group 1 double, as the three-year-old daughter of Ruler of The World, got the better of the Ballydoyle-trained Hermosa (7/2) by three-quarters-of-a-length, with another Coolmore-owned runner, Just Wonderful (12/1), a further head back in third.

Overseas raider Laurens (1/1f), trained in Britain by Karl Burke, and winner of the contest in 2018, could only manage fourth place on this occasion, as the favourite was engulfed by various O’Brien-trained runners inside the final furlong.

Sponsors Clipper Logistics got most of their sponsorship money back when claiming the Group 2 The Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes with Space Traveller (13/2).

Trained in England, by Irishman Richard Fahey, jockey Billy Lee got the Bated Breath three-year-old up ahead of fellow overseas traveller, Matterhorn (7/2) from the Mark Johnston yard, with Pincheck (20/1) best of the home-trained runners in third for Jessica Harrington.

Dermot Weld’s Kastasa (6/1) was first past the post, under jockey Andrew Slattery, in The Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap over 1m4f. The bay daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar had to withstand a Stewards’ Enquiry before being declared the winner, ahead of the favourite Buildmeupbuttercup (7/2f), winner at this year’s Galway Races, a nose behind. Jim Bolger’s consistent Trossachs (9/1) was another three-quarters-of-a-length back in third position.

The final race on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend saw a strong drive from Ronan Whelan on the Adrian McGuinness-trained Current Option (11/2) hold off the closing Black Magic Woman (20/1) and Ice Cold In Alex (15/2), who were just a neck and a neck respectively behind the winner.


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