Curragh report: Magical returns with effortless victory in Pretty Polly Stakes

Sun 28 Jun 2020

Watch and read all about the action at the Curragh today where last year's Champion Stakes winner made a successful return to action and plenty of big targets are now under consideration for her.

Magical made a triumphant return to action as she added another Group One to her record in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The five-year-old was last seen when winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October, with the mare subsequently due to head to the Breeders’ Cup before being covered by No Nay Never.

In the end the multiple Group One winner did not travel to Santa Anita after developing a temperature, and connections had a rethink on calling time on her racing career.

That decision paid immediate dividends as Magical topped off another successful weekend for Aidan O’Brien and jockey Seamus Heffernan in the Group One feature.

Riding the brilliant mare for the first time, Heffernan, fresh from winning the Irish Derby on the stable’s Santiago, bounced Magical out into an early advantage and she never saw another rival.

The result was never in doubt at any stage as the 2-5 favourite powered away to a four-and-a-half-length victory.

Magical was landing her fifth top-level success and all the major races over 10 and 12 furlongs will be in the mix, although she is likely to face old rival Enable at some point having never got the better of John Gosden’s charge in four attempts so far.

Seamie Heffernan reflects on Magical's victory in the Pretty Polly

O’Brien said: “She’s very exciting and always has been, but she’s got stronger this year and that’s why the lads decided to leave her in training. She was to go to No Nay Never.

“We could have gone to Sandown (for next week’s Coral-Eclipse), but this was a lovely race to start her off. We’ll probably let Japan go to Sandown – he’s had a run.

“We’ll look at the King George for her next. We learned last year that she gets 10 (furlongs) really well and gets 12 as well. It makes her very uncomplicated.

“You usually see a big change between three to four, but something really strange happened the way she changed over the winter to this year. It’s very obvious the power she has now.

“She had been working brilliantly, but we knew that she would come on plenty as well. The Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc are all races that are open to her.”

Shane Crosse rode the biggest winner of his career to date when Speak In Colours gamely held on in the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.

Turned out again quickly by Joseph O’Brien having run respectably when fifth to Hello Youmzain at Royal Ascot, he extended his good record at the track having never finished outside the first two in six races.

Crosse, unable to use his 3lb allowance due to the race being a Group Two, charted a clear path down the middle of the course.

He went clear on the 100-30 chance inside the final furlong, but his mount began to tire as Forever In Dreams and Buffer Zone closed in, however the five-year-old prevailed by a head and the same.

“He’s a great, consistent solid horse. He turns up every day and I thought Shane gave him a lovely ride,” said O’Brien.

“He’s not usually a horse that we go forward with, he always gets a lead, but we didn’t feel there was a huge amount of pace and he was able to control the race.

“You could argue that his best runs are all at six furlongs here. We left him in here after Ascot to see how he was and then decided to come here.

“It’s nice to win a Group Two with him and we’ll be trying to win Group Ones again. In the past he’s just been up to getting placed in them, but we’ll try again.”

Hudson River, the first foal out of top-class sprinter Mecca’s Angel, made a winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C&G) Maiden at the Curragh.

Coolmore wasted no time in sending the former Michael Dods-trained dual Nunthorpe winner to their champion sire Galileo having bought her privately and it already looks a shrewd move.

Despite his dam excelling over five furlongs, Hudson River made his debut over seven furlongs, but it proved no barrier to success.

Surprisingly weak in the market, he drifted out to 3-1 joint-favourite but having broke smartly for Seamie Heffernan, he never saw another rival, beating Ace Aussie by a length and a half with Wembley, also trained by Aidan O’Brien, third.

“He’s a lovely colt and was just ready to start. He could go to the (Newmarket) July meeting,” said O’Brien.

“He’ll probably end up a miler and it was a nice race to start him in.

“Padraig (Beggy) said his horse (Wembley) reared in the stalls and missed the break, but I’d say he’s a very nice horse too.”

Napa Valley (evens favourite) made it a double for O’Brien and Heffernan as he held off stablemate Keats by three-quarters of a length in the Finlay Volvo Cars Races.

Heffernan had survived a nasty incident earlier on the card when odds-on favourite Snowfall nearly came down in the Barrownstown Stud Irish EBF Fillies Maiden.

With Snowfall heavily eased, Jim Bolger’s Aunty Bridy (6-1) just held off Sister Rosetta.

Bolger’s daughter Una Manning, wife of winning rider Kevin, said: “We trained for the owner (David Granville) many years ago and Christy (Roche) rode a winner for him. Jim is delighted to have this filly for him.

“The plan is to upgrade her, so hopefully she can step up into Listed company.”

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