Thanks for the memories: mighty mare Magical retired – and this time it’s for real

Horse Racing Magical
Mighty and magnificent: seven-time G1 winner Magical has been retired to the paddocks. Photo courtesy of HKJC

By Jon Lees

Ireland: Superstar racemare Magical, the winner of seven G1s and more than £4.8 million in prize-money, has been retired – for the second time.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien confirmed the news on Tuesday, revealing she would soon be leaving Ballydoyle for the final time to head to the paddocks at Coolmore Stud. “Magical is going to be retired and is going home this evening,” he said.

Originally retired at the end of 2019 before a Coolmore rethink brought another campaign and three more G1 wins, Magical finally exits Ballydoyle aged five as one of the most successful racehorses of O’Brien’s legendary career.

Horse Racing Irish Champion Stakes Magical Ghaiyyath
Magical: inflicted the only defeat of Ghaiyyath of the 2020 campaign in the Irish Champion Stakes. Photo: Horse Racing Ireland

“Magical was a great filly,” said O’Brien. “She raced at the top level all the way from two to five. She travelled a lot and always turned up.

“She won seven G1s so she was amazing really and will be a very hard filly to replace. We were very lucky to have her.”

He continued: “Jamie, who was in charge of her, did a great job with her. Patrick used to ride her out and Lee used to lead her up and then there were all the riders that rode her.”

The popular daughter of Galileo had her final start in Hong Kong ten days ago when she finished third, three-quarters of a length behind the Japanese mare Normcore in the Hong Kong Cup.

She was chasing an eighth G1 victory, which would have been a record for the stable; instead she ends her career having matched Rock Of Gibraltar, Minding, Yeats and Highland Reel, who also won seven G1s. But for the existence of Enable, she would have won ten G1s, having three times finished second to the great mare, who was also retired this year.

By Galileo out of the French and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Halfway To Heaven, Magical won 12 of her 18 career starts altogether. She had to wait until the end of her three-year-old campaign to register her first G1 victory when she captured the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

She went on to the Breeders’ Cup Turf where she fought a memorable encounter with Enable, in which the Arc winner prevailed only after the pair duelled down the Churchill Downs stretch.

It was one of three G1 clashes in which Magical was to finish second to Enable, yet she still left her mark registering three top-level successes in 2019 in which she won the Irish Champion and Champion Stakes.

She was due to be retired after spiking a temperature before last year’s Breeders’ Cup but a change of plan saw her return to training for another season at Ballydoyle.

That decision reaped another three G1s from six runs this year, among them a second triumph in Ireland’s most prestigious race, the Irish Champion Stakes, where she asserted close home to inflict Ghaiyyath’s sole defeat of the campaign with subsequent Arc hero Sottsass back in fourth.

O’Brien said: “There were so many great days and obviously those Champion Stakes wins were very important. They are the ones that stand out.”

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