Magical Irish Champions Weekend For Ballydoyle Team
Irish Champions Weekend, the highlight of the Irish flat racing calendar, saw Aidan O’Brien add another three Group 1 victories to his CV, adding to a total of six Stakes wins over the two days.
Magical (Galileo) proved the highlight on Saturday’s card at Leopardstown when leading home a 1-2-3 for Ballydoyle and Galileo in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes. It marked an eighth win in the prestigious contest for Aidan O’Brien, his previous partners to success being Giant’s Causeway, High Chaparral, Oratorio, Dylan Thomas, Cape Blanco and So You Think.
Saturday began on a positive note when Blissful (Galileo) swooped late to land the opening Listed Ingabelle Stakes under Ryan Moore. The Coolmore homebred has proven progressive and O’Brien is hoping there is more to come from Gustav Klimt’s full-sister, earmarking the Fillies Mile as a possible target.
Well-bred Curragh maiden winner Mogul (Galileo) did not disappoint in the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes, justifying favoritism by a length and a quarter, despite racing wide for much of the mile contest. A step up to Group 1 company is now imminent for Mogul, a full-brother to Japan who was sold by breeder Newsells Park Stud for 3.4million guineas as a yearling.
The next race on the card, a Group 3 run over a mile and a half, saw Norway (Galileo) stay on strongly to score by a length and a quarter under Seamie Heffernan. Aidan O’Brien later revealed that trips to Hong Kong or the US may be considered for Norway, adding, “He's a lovely horse to have, fast ground, a mile-and-a-half and he can travel and quicken.”
The following day at the Curragh, Fairyland came out on top in a thrilling finish of the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes, where she dug deep to hold off stablemate So Perfect (Scat Daddy) by a short head. Later described by O’Brien as ,“A big powerful filly with a lovely temperament,” Fairyland is now a dual Group 1 winner, having taken the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes as a juvenile. Owned by Evie Stockwell, she holds entries in both the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Breeders Cup Sprint.
It was the two-year-olds time to shine in the next race, the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and it was Love (Galileo) who proved best of all under Ryan Moore. The winning distance was three parts of a length, with the short-priced favourite, Albany Stakes heroine Dahhyeh, forced to settle for runners-up honours.