Magician hard to oppose in Dubai Sheema Classic
Magician produced two stunning performances last season that marked him out as a top class colt. The first came in the Irish 2000 Guineas the Curragh where he slammed stable companion Gale Force Ten by three and a half lengths.
He had been a surprise declaration for the race with many believing his next race would be the Epsom Derby following his victory in Chester’s Dee Stakes. He next appeared in the St James’s Palace Stakes but was hampered in a rough race won by Dawn Approach.
O’Brien then produced a wonderful piece of training to bring him back for the Breeders’ Cup and a stunning victory over The Fugue. Ryan Moore rode a perfectly judged race and swooped late on the son of Galileo to win by half a length.
On this occasion the ride goes to Joseph O’Brien with Moore riding the big danger Gentildonna whom he rode to her second consecutive victory in the Japan Cup in November. Just as she had done a year earlier, she had to fight all the way to the line to win by a nose.
She may have needed the run when beaten into sixth place in February and has to be respected. Denim And Ruby was the unlucky horse in the Japan Cup this year, flashing home late at odds of 29-1.
Denim And Ruby has not run since but certainly comes into the reckoning on that evidence. It says much for the quality of the field that former European champion Cirrus Des Aigles is only fourth favourite.
The son of Even Top may be losing a little of his dash at the age of eight but was not disgraced when second to Farhh in the Champion Stakes. He was third in the Hong Kong Cup and will be sharper for his first run of the season at Chantilly.
Dominant was third to Military Attack at Sha Tin last time and beat The Fugue in the Hong Kong Vase in December. Dunaden and Mount Athos are smart stayers but may find this trip on the sharp side while this represents a step up in class for Excellent Result.