'She was a dream mare' - Group 1 warrior Magical retired and bound for paddocks
Aidan O'Brien labelled Magical the "dream mare" after the brilliant seven-time Group 1 winner was retired to join the broodmare band at Coolmore Stud.
The five-year-old, who won 12 of her 28 races under rules and over £4.8 million in prize-money, finished her career with a swansong effort in Hong Kong earlier this month when third in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
She was due to retire to the paddocks to be covered by No Nay Never last year, but her connections had a last-minute change of heart and sent her back into training with O'Brien.
She secured three more top-level victories this year, headlined by her crowning glory when outbattling Ghaiyyath for her second consecutive Irish Champion Stakes victory in September.
The Ballydoyle maestro paid a fitting tribute to the mare and said: "She has been a wonderful mare for us. She raced at the top level all the way from two to the time she retired. She was unbelievably tough, versatile, consistent and classy.
"Her mother was always rated a queen and she was rated a queen herself when she was born, and then you could say she was covered by the king in Galileo. It's all there."
"She has been amazing to have anything to do with and she retired 100 per cent sound. She was a dream mare to have, and most of the days she got beat, you could say that if things had happened differently she might not have.
"She never shirked anything. Right at the end, she went to Hong Kong and ran all the way to the line. And it wasn't as if we protected her – she ran and she travelled, going all the way to Hong Kong right at the very end."
A daughter of Galileo out of Group 1-winning mare Halfway to Heaven, Magical started her career when second in a 6f maiden at the Curragh in June 2017, before going on to win two races during her juvenile year, including the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at that track.
However, it was not until the autumn of her three-year-old season that she blossomed into a top-class performer. Following victory in the Group 1 Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot, Magical almost thwarted Enable in a classic running of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.
While she was never able to conquer her formidable foe and was the bridesmaid to her on four occasions, she went on to further top-level glory as a four-year-old, winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup, the first of her Irish Champion Stakes victories and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
'We've never had another mare who won seven Group 1s before'
Question marks were raised when she returned to training as a five-year-old but she vindicated her connections' faith in brilliant fashion.
She made an unbeaten start to her unlikely comeback when landing the Pretty Polly Stakes and the Tattersalls Gold Cup once again but endured defeat when runner-up to Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International at York.
However, she exacted revenge on that rival with a determined three-quarter-length victory for her second Leopardstown success, which proved to be her last victory before placed efforts in the Champion Stakes, Breeders' Cup Turf and Hong Kong Cup.
Despite those defeats towards the end of her campaign, O'Brien was certain when asked if she had vindicated their decision to prolong her racing career.
"Absolutely. It was a great call by the boys to give her another year, and it wasn't an easy one to make because it totally reversed what they were going to do," he added. "It was appreciated from our point of view. We have never had another mare who won seven Group 1s before, and she is 100 per cent homebred as well, which is marvellous for the lads."
Magical failed to finish in the first three on only six of her 28 starts. Her best Racing Post Rating of 124 came in her admirable second-placed finish in the 2019 Prince of Wales's Stakes behind Crystal Ocean.
She achieved a 120+ RPR in just under half of all of her efforts and was ridden to Group 1 glory on three occasions by Ballydoyle's first jockey Ryan Moore, while Seamie Heffernan, Wayne Lordan and Donnacha O'Brien all won at the top level aboard her.
Magical's Champion Stakes triumph proved to be the last Group 1 of O'Brien's riding career.
Mating plans for the future have yet to be decided by Coolmore.
Read more on a Magical career
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