Magical and Kew Gardens Shine for Galileo on Champions Day at Ascot

Mark Smith - Sunday October 20

The wonderfully courageous Magical in the Group 1 Champion Stakes and a resurgent Kew Gardens overturning the seemingly unbeatable Stradivarius in a thrilling Group II British Champions Long Distance Cup, completed another magnificent season for the champion Galileo on Champions Day at Ascot.

Not to be outdone, Galileo’s champion half brother Sea The Stars chipped in with the Group 1 British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes heroine Star Catcher while former Emirates Park shuttler Dream Ahead (USA) had the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes winner Donjuan Triumphant who defeated Fastnet Rock’s Group 1 Prix De La Foret heroine One Master, while the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes went the way of the Farrh colt King of Change.A decade of dominance - Galileo - image Mark Smith

On this day twelve months ago Magical won the Fillies And Mares Stakes and she has not dodged a soul in 10 starts since.

She closed last season by running Enable to three-quarters of a length in the Group 1 Breeders Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.

The daughter of Galileo reeled off three consecutive wins to start the year culminating in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

She the finished second to Crystal Ocean in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Ascot, second to Enable in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse and was beaten again by Enable in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.

After romping home by over two lengths in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, Magical clocked in fifth in the Arc before her triumph in Saturday’s Champion Stakes, which had been one of the very few races to elude trainer Aidan O’Brien who said the 4yo mare’s busy season may not be over yet.

"She is just incredible, but she is classy as well. A mile and a half probably stretches her, although she has won over that a mile and a quarter is really her.

"She's by Galileo which makes her special, they don't know when to stop. They never hold a grudge and mentally they are unbelievable. She is the most unbelievable mare I've seen.

"What can you say about her? She is the ultimate racehorse, that is what she is. She is incredible. It looks like she is still progressing, which is amazing.

"We would love to keep her in training, but the lads will make a decision. They have to decide whether they want to go to the Breeders' Cup or not, and that would be the next one if they decide they want to go.

"Found was an unbelievable mare and you can definitely compare them well. If she goes to the Breeders' Cup, she would go to the Filly & Mare Turf."

Magical is one of three stakes-winners out of the top-class Pivotal mare Halfway To Heaven who won the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Nassau Stakes and Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.

To Galileo she has also left the triple Group 1 winner Rhododendron and the Group III winner Flying The Flag.

Halfway To Heaven is herself a daughter of an elite performer the 3-time Group winner Cassandra Go (Indian Ridge) who was runner-up in the Group 1 July Cup.

In contrast to Magical, her stablemate Kew Gardens had been finding it hard to breakthrough.

He was winning for the first time since the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster last season. He had been second in all three of his previous starts in 2019, which included the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Group 1 Irish St Leger at his most recent start.

In a battle royal down the straight, Kew Gardens fought back after being headed by the courageous Stradivarius who fell a nose short of continuing a winning streak that began 10 starts previously in the 2018 Group II Yorkshire Cup.

Aidan O’Brien said Kew Gardens had to come back from a significant injury.

"We were training him for the Gold Cup and he got an injury and it all went pear shaped so we're just so lucky to get him back. He pulled all the muscles in his back just before Ascot,” O’Brien said.

"He barely made it back for the Irish St Leger and that race just didn't go right. He's an incredible horse.

"It's possible he'll be around next year. The lads will decide what they want to do. There is a big chance he will be. He's a very brave horse, so I'm delighted.

"I'd say the Gold Cup next year would definitely be the target if he stayed in training next year. I would imagine that's it for the season."

Bred by Barronstown Stud and is one of four winners out of Desert King’s Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Chelsea Rose who is also the dam of the  Group III winner Thawaany (Tamayuz), Listed-placed Hamlool (Red Ransom) and Pale Orchid (Invincible Spirit), the dam of this season's Listed-winning two-year-old Justifier (Free Eagle).

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