Magician the class act in Tattersalls Gold Cup
Magician looks a worthy favourite to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with his seventh winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh today (3.20).
O’Brien has won three of the last four renewals, and in Magician has a colt of the highest quality with proven Group 1 winning form to his name.
The son of Galileo improved at a rate of knots last season, winning the Dee Stakes at Chester in runaway style before landing the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas by 3 1/2 lengths.
Magician went on to show a devastating turn of foot when winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in Santa Anita, and was far from disgraced on his first start this year when a 2 3/4 length fifth of 15 to Gentildonna in the Dubai Sheema Classic in Meydan.
The four-year-old then got back on the winning trail in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes last time out at this venue, where he was given a sympathetic ride and was value for more than the neck winning margin.
Magican looks sure to come on significantly for that run, and is also unbeaten in three runs at the track.
Another plus is that Magician has proven winning form on soft ground, and he looks a cut above his rivals being officially rated 7lb and upwards their superior.
The only horse that realistically holds a chance of lowering his colours is Noble Mission.
Trained by Lady Cecil, the five-year-old has been transformed by the adoption of aggressive front-running tactics in his last two races.
In the first of those the son of Galileo slammed Telescope by nine lenths in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, and Noble Mission then showed that to be no fluke when beating the same rival by 2 1/4 lengths in the Huxley Stakes at Chester.
Both those races were run on soft ground, so conditions at the Curragh will hold no fears.
Noble Mission fully deserves a crack at Group 1 level judged on those successes, and will undoubtedly try and make all and run the finish out of Magician.
However, that rival has a high cruising speed and deadly turn of foot which suggest he will have to underperform if Noble Mission is to prevail.