/ Racing

Aidan O'Brien extects strong Magician challenge in Tattersalls Gold Cup

Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 20:42 | Comments

Magician is unbeaten in three starts at the Curragh
Magician is unbeaten in three starts at the Curragh

Aidan O'Brien expects Magician to strip much fitter in Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh than when he won the Mooresbridge Stakes earlier in the month.

It was arguably one of O'Brien's finest moments last season when he was able to bring Magician back from finishing last in the St James's Palace in June to claim the Breeders' Cup Turf in November without a run in between.

He had won the Irish 2,000 Guineas before Royal Ascot to show his versatility and ran a respectable race in Dubai in the Sheema Classic when beaten three lengths by Gentildonna.

The Ballydoyle handler decided to run in the Mooresbridge rather than give him a racecourse gallop.

"He was supposed to work at the Curragh but we let him run instead," said O'Brien.

"He was literally ready to run. Joseph (O'Brien) put him asleep and dropped him on the line as he wasn't ready for any more."

O'Brien junior told At The Races:  "I was very happy with him, I just wanted him to do things right and finish out his race well. Things didn't go 100 per cent in Dubai so we wanted him to have a good experience.

"He was always going to win, I was very happy with him, he didn't have a hard race and we were delighted.

"He could go to Epsom or Ascot after this. He's a very good horse and would be competitive in any race on fast ground."

O'Brien also runs Hall Of Mirrors, third in the Mooresbridge after a lengthy absence.

Bookmakers believe his biggest threat will come from Jane Cecil's Noble Mission, the brother of Frankel.

He is making a name for himself in his own right this season, having won the Gordon Richards at Sandown and the Huxley Stakes at Chester.

So impressive has he been that he was supplemented for this Group One assignment.

"He's been in great shape and has had a very good spring," said owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.

"He's earned a crack at this. This is a big step up and he'll have to step up again as he's coming up against Magician who has won a Classic and a Breeders' Cup.

"We always had quite good aspirations for him as a young horse. Being who he was it was slightly difficult for him because expectations were so high.

"He's never been out of the frame in any of his 17 starts, that marks him as a pretty useful horse whatever and the opportunity for him to prove himself at the highest level is something we are keen to do.

"I think (front-running tactics) made a difference to a certain extent. It sort of evolved because at Sandown he was a fit horse and was in good form, the other horses hadn't had another run, the ground was soft so it made sense to use his stamina and his fitness.

"Having done that it would have been foolish not to try and repeat that at Chester and it worked really well.

"I think (his popularity) is down to the Cecil factor and his connections and he's thoroughly likeable, tough and has a touch of class."

Abdullah's retained jockey is James Doyle who appears to have struck up a very good relationship with Noble Mission.

Doyle said: "He seems to have just clicked right. I think he's matured a lot, it took him time mentally and physically, but over the winter he's really matured and seems in order in every way.

"You can't knock him on what he's done this year.

"He did it on the sharp end (at Chester). He did it the tough way and he came out on top at the line."

Parish Hall, runner-up in the Mooresbridge, is one of two for Jim Bolger who also runs Einsteins Folly.

Dermot Weld saddles the filly Along Came Casey.

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