Aidan O’Brien hopes stable stars Magical and Enable have the chance to face Ghaiyyath again in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown
- Magical was beaten three lengths by Ghaiyyath in International Stakes at York
- Japan has hampered by a foot issue in King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
- Ghaiyyath’s participation appears to hinge on availability of jockey William Buick
Aidan O’Brien says he would relish the opportunity to take on Ghaiyyath again in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown a week on Saturday.
The participation of the Charlie Appleby-trained colt appears to hinge on whether regular jockey William Buick is able to take up the mount which needs a change in the rules on quarantine for elite athletes entering Ireland.
But if the Godolphin-owned colt, who has won the Coronation Cup, Eclipse and International Stakes, lines up in the signature race of Longines Irish Champions weekend, he will face a team which is headed by Magical, last year’s winner, and Japan.
Ghaiyyath’s participation hinges on whether jockey William Buick is able to take up the mount
Six-time group one winner Magical was beaten three lengths by Ghaiyyath in last month’s International Stakes at York last month while Japan has recovered from a foot issue that emerged after he was last of three to Enable in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.
O’Brien said: ‘We were delighted with Magical at York. It was her first run back of the Autumn campaign. Ryan (Moore) thought she might progress a bit from the run. She is a hardy lady and she gives her all.
‘When we run we get a look at our own horses and everyone else’s and we re-group and see if we can improve things and do a few little tweeks.
‘Japan came back from Ascot with very sore soles in his front feet. We don’t know if it was pressure from his shoes or he stood on something. He was lame for a few days after and we rode him out barefoot for 10 days and he came back 100 per cent sound.
‘He is travelling really well in his work and everything seems to be good now. We felt it was a legitimate excuse for what happened to him.
‘It would be great for everybody if Ghaiyyath came over. It’s a very prestigious race and it is great it happens in Ireland.’
Irish 2,000 Guineas second Vatican City, who was eighth in the Derby and then last in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood after being galloped into and losing his action, is another O’Brien Champion Stakes possible.
O’Brien first won the Irish Champion Stakes with Giant’s Causeway 20 years ago. He has won the race eight times.
Other big race plans for O’Brien over Irish Champions weekend include running Irish 1,000 Guineas winner and French Oaks third Peaceful in the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
On day two of Irish Champions weekend at the Curragh, O’Brien’s 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign spearheads his attack in the Comer Group International Irish Leger while Battleground, winner of the Chesham Stakes and Vintage Stakes, attempts a first group one race win in the National Stakes.