Magical used every ounce of her sex allowance to beat the star colt Ghaiyyath and win the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Online bookmakers have cut the Aidan O’Brien mare for a number of potential targets. She is now prominent in the betting for the Arc, British Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup, where the mares’ and fillies’ allowances are huge positives.
Ghaiyyath lost nothing in defeat, and the betting suggests he is still a major player in the top Group 1 races during the autumn. His next race could see a rematch with Magical at Longchamp, Ascot or Keenland.
The ante-post betting for these three races suggest the battle of the equine sexes will reconvene on Champions Day at Ascot. Ghaiyyath gave Magical 3lbs in the Irish version and went down by just three-quarters of a length. She has the same allowance at Ascot.
The world’s top-rated horse still deserves that mantle because the outcome would probably be different in a level-weights contest. However, allowances in Group races have stood the test of time, and Magical took advantage and was too good for Ghaiyyath on the day.
The race was more about Magical producing arguably a career-best effort than Ghaiyyath underperforming. The winner has now amassed seven Group 1 titles and won 12 races from 25 starts, and over £4 million in earnings.
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Despite the reverse, Ghaiyyath is shorter in the betting (+400 compared to +600) for the British Champion Stakes on October 17. That is just 13 days after the Arc, but a horse could run in both. In fact, Magical was fifth in the Arc last year and then won the Champion Stakes.
The betting suggests both horses will take the Ascot route as they get the same quote of +1400 for the Longchamp race. Love and Enable seem to have the Arc covered, and the race distance is not ideal for Magical and Ghaiyyath.
Both horses have produced their best rating up to the Champion Stakes distance of one mile, two furlongs. The Arc is two furlongs further, and Love and Enable are proven over the trip. The extra distance could find out Magical and Ghaiyyath in such a hard race.
The Breeders’ Cup Turf is also run over one-and-a-half miles. Enable won the race in 2018 with the help of her allowance, so a mare can win. Magical finished second but enjoyed a 4lbs weight-for-age pull with Enable. The Breeders’ Cup betting favours Magical at +550 over Ghaiyyath at +650.
So, of the three possible next assignments, Magical is more fancied in one, Ghaiyyath is favoured in another and the bookmakers can’t split the horses in a third. Connections could go down different routes, but another clash in 2020 looks on the cards.
The form of the Irish Champion Stakes and the mares’ and fillies’ allowances point to another victory for Magical. The betting suggests the next meeting will be the British Champion Stakes, which Magical can win for the second time in two years.