Aidan O’Brien saddled Magical (3f Galileo-Halfway To Heaven, by Pivotal) a full sister to Bush Hill Stud’s Flying The Flag, to land the £600,000 G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday. Flying The Flag and Magical’s full sibling Rhododendron has already made a name for herself, winning three Gr1’s.
The three-year-old daughter of Galileo traveled stylishly into contention in the home straight and quickened up smartly under Ryan Moore to score by a length in the G1 event from the John Gosden-trained Coronet.
The master of Ballydoyle said: “We’re really delighted with Magical. We were always going to take our time on her. She had a lovely position and relaxed lovely, so we couldn’t have been happier.
“We thought she was going to be a real contender for the G1 Investec Oaks at one stage, but suffered an injury beforehand. We thought she would handle ease in the ground as she had form on a softer surface as a two-year-old so we are really delighted with her.
“She ran well in the Arc and she was only just coming back to full fitness in that race. Wayne Lordan rode her in that race and he said there was no doubt that she does stay a mile and a half as that was her first time over the trip.”
Paddy Power make Magical a 5/1 shot from 10/1 for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mares Turf and O’Brien added: “She’s had an injury already this year and she would have to be 100% if she went to America (for the Breeders’ Cup).”
Moore added: “We always thought Magical was top-class. She didn’t quite manage to win a G1 at two and then things have not gone to plan for her this year, but she ran a real good race in the Arc and Wayne [Lordan, who rode her at Longchamp] was very happy with her.
“We thought she would be a mile and a half filly and the Arc showed that she gets the trip. Today was very smooth the whole way and she had a lovely run round.”
International Group winner Flying The Flag, a big handsome imposing chestnut with an excellent temperament will have his first yearlings on sale in 2019. He is producing large foals with plenty of quality and muscle, a very exciting prospect for KZN and South Africa. He has covered quality mares since going to stud, amongst them Vin Fizz – the dam of Pierre Jourdan, Champagne Haze and Dubai export, Belle Rose.
From the family of Photo Call, Verglas and Stravinsky, Flying The Flag stands for a fee of R20 000 at Warwick and Karin Render’s Bush Hill Stud.