Magician leaves it late to finish task
Dual Group One winner Magician was made to work to justify his prohibitive odds in the High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
The brilliant winner of last year's Irish 2000 Guineas – before signing off his season with victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf –Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old was sixth when favourite for the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in late March.
Dropping in class and trip for his return to domestic action, the Galileo colt went on his way the 2-13 favourite and Joseph O'Brien was happy to give each of his four rivals a headstart.
He was still last turning for home and when asked to close on his opponents, the response was not immediate.
Jim Bolger's 2011 Dewhurst winner Parish Hall, disappointing in two previous starts this year, set sail a little over a furlong out and for a brief moment it looked as though the bird had flown.
However, Magician eventually found top gear and wore him down to take the Group Three prize by a neck.
It was a fifth consecutive victory in the race for the winning trainer following the previous successes of Fame And Glory, So You Think, Windsor Palace and Camelot.
Aidan O'Brien said: "I nearly had a heart attack looking at him (before the race).
"He was away in Dubai and things didn't go right for him.
"We gave him a little rest and he had a good tummy on him today.
"He's going to come back here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup (May 25).
"He's in a good place now and Joseph was very happy and said he won snug.
"He's not gone right-handed that much before."
RaceBets eased Magician to 6-4 favourite from even money for the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Spokesman Joseph Burke said: "Obviously the Mooresbridge Stakes was merely a stepping stone for the season ahead, but nevertheless he was a tad unconvincing today and as a result we have eased him to 6-4 favourite for the Curragh race at the end of the month."
Meanwhile, War Command will be aimed towards the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh after finishing ninth at Newmarket on Saturday.
Last year's Coventry Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes winner was strongly fancied for the 2000 Guineas at Headquarters and although he failed to make a significant impact under Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O'Brien expects improvement ahead of the Irish equivalent on May 24.
O'Brien said: "He's a big, bulky horse and he's going to improve from the run.
"He'll run in the Irish Guineas."