05/25/2013 1:09PM

The Curragh: Magician extends O'Brien's dominance in Irish 2000 Guineas


Magician validated his dominant victory in the Dee Stakes on May 8 at Chester in England with a similarly convincing win Saturday at The Curragh in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas. His trainer, Aidan O’Brien, required no such validation but got more anyway, winning the Irish 2000 Guineas for the third year in a row, the fifth in the last six, and for the ninth time overall.

For good measure, O’Brien swept up the place spot with Gale Force Ten, but Saturday’s race belonged to Magician, a Galileo colt winning for the third time in six starts. Magician has plenty of speed and sat a great trip in third as Trading Leather shot to the front after one furlong and laid down a good pace, tracked by Ask Dad.

Trading Leather came under a ride with a little less than three furlongs left to run but could open no distance on Magician, who accelerated a quarter-mile out, seized control of the race, and never was threatened, going on to win by 3 1/2 lengths.

Gale Force Ten was clearly second best, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of the fading Trading Leather, with Havana Gold – the less fancied of two Richard Hannon-trained runners in the Guineas – fourth. Hannon’s supposedly main contender, Van Der Neer, lacked the speed to keep up and never got involved, checking in eighth. George Vancouver, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, disappointed for the second time this year, finishing seventh.

Magician, timed in 1:36.18 for one mile on good turf, already has won over 1 1/4 miles, and the English Derby at 1 1/2 miles might not lie outside his scope. But that race comes in one week’s time, and O’Brien suggested afterward that the turnaround would be too quick for Magician, who has plenty of opportunities from one to 1 1/4 miles this summer.

Kingsgate Native ends drought

It had been 20 starts and three years since Kingsgate Native won a race, the distant success having come in the Group 2 Temple Stakes. On Saturday, the 8-year-old Kingsgate Native won the Temple again, beating Swiss Spirit by a neck in the five-furlong, straight-course dash at Haydock.

A head behind Swiss Spirit came the 3-year-old Reckless Abandon, who suffered his first loss, while the favored Sole Power finished fourth.