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Champion Magician denied double bid at Santa Anita


Chester hope: Aidan O’Brien

Chester hope: Aidan O’Brien

Chester hope: Aidan O’Brien

Defending champion Magician has been ruled out of a repeat bid for glory in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday, having been found to be acutely lame on his off-fore.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt beat The Fugue by a half a length last year in a pulsating renewal, cutting down John Gosden's filly in the shadow of the post under an inspired Ryan Moore.

Magician has not run since finishing second in the Arlington Million in Chicago in August, but hopes were high for another big effort before he retires to Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

However, he was found to be lame yesterday morning.

Coolmore spokesman Richard Henry said: "He is lame, he was examined by Dr Vince Baker and John Halley and won't run."

O'Brien said: "It's very disappointing.

"We were looking forward to him, really, we thought he was coming back to where he was for the Breeders' Cup here last year. Just when he came out for his trot, he was acutely lame.

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"This is the race we were looking at all year with him. Obviously we hadn't got him back to where he was last year, this year yet. But everything through the year had been to come here.

"We were just dialling him gently, gently, until this was the one we were starting to push him for. It's just a big pity."

Meanwhile, Emerging trainer Charlie Fellowes is bubbling with excitement as he prepares to saddle Wet Sail in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita tomorrow.

The Newmarket-based handler is experiencing a dream come true, with a first American runner in his first season with a licence.

Winner of one of his four starts, the Henrythenavigator gelding was last seen finishing third to the ultra-impressive Limato in the Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar, form boosted since by runner-up Mattmu.

Fellowes said: "We've had 11 winners at a 15 per cent strike-rate, as well as a Saturday double and first runner was also a winner. Obviously, this is the icing on the cake.

"My target was 10 winners and £100,000 in prize-money and we have managed 11 winners and £130,000 so that can't be bad.

"I've always thought a lot of Wet Sail, he was too difficult to handle early on so we gelded him and he has been a totally different creature since then. He was so cool going on to the track this morning and is taking it all unbelievably well."

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