The Champion Stakes is a Group 1 that has so far eluded Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien, but Magical looks to hold outstanding claims of providing him with a first success in the prestigious 1m 2f at Ascot on Saturday (16:00).
This four-year-old landed the Group 1 fillies and mares’ race on this card 12 months ago, staying on strongly on soft ground to beat Coronet by a length.
Magical then went on to round off the campaign with a cracking three-quarters of a length second to wonder mare Enable in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.
The beautifully bred daughter of Galileo has looked just as good this season, rattling up quick-fire hat-trick at home in Ireland on her first three starts.
Magical then finished runner-up on her next three outings all at the highest level, going down by 1 1/4 lengths to Crystal Ocean in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
She was then again three-quarters of a length behind Enable in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, before finding her old rival 2 3/4 lengths too strong in the Yorkshire Oaks. That is form of the highest standard.
Magical has since landed the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes in fine style. She was also far from disgraced last time out when a 10-length fifth of 12 to Waldgeist in the Arc over 1m 4f at Longchamp when ridden too aggressively.
This is less taxing and the drop back to 1m 2f, over which Magical has a tremendous 66 per cent strike rate having won four times and been placed twice from six starts, is another plus.
She is also the highest rated in the nine-runner line-up off 122, so looks a worthy 15/8 favourite with Bethard. Magical is the one to be on here.
Addeybb looks plenty short enough
The closest rival to Magical in the Champion Stakes betting is Addeybb, who revels in the mud and has a terrific 53 per cent strike rate on turf having won seven of his 13 starts.
This William Haggas trained five-year-old won in terrific style at the Royal meeting here in June when landing the Listed 1m 2f Wolferton Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths from Magic Wand.
Addeybb travelled ominously well throughout in the hands of Danny Tudhope and overcame a hefty bump, before being produced to take up the running just inside the final furlong.
Tudhope then only had to give the son of Pivotal a shake of the reins and he quickened instantly to put the race to bed and win easing down.
It was a visually stunning display, but Addeybb was unable to back it up at next time up month when a 3 1/4 lengths runner-up to Elarqam in a Group 2.
That was an underwhelming and disappointing performance at the time, but the winner finished a fine 1 1/4 lengths third to Japan when next in action in the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York.
In hindsight, it wasn’t a bad effort. Addeybb has since resumed winning ways with a very easy 2 1/4 lengths success over Pondus in a Group 3 at Haydock, but this demands much more.
So, at 100/30 with Betfred, he looks plenty short enough for the Champion Stakes and opposable at this level.
Regal Reality a lively Champion Stakes outsider
Off those at bigger odds, Regal Reality looks a lively outsider and makes plenty of each-way appeal at 20/1 with Paddy Power.
This four-year-old is a lightly-raced Sir Michael Stoute trained inmate who has won three of his 10 starts.
The son of Intello put in a very taking display when landing the six-runner Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last year.
Regal Reality was held-up off the pace in fifth by Frankie Dettori, before coming with a surging late run down the outside of the field from the three marker to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths from Ostilio.
He went on to round off the campaign with a solid third of five to subsequent Group 1 Lockinge winner Mustashry in a Group 2 at Newmarket.
Regal Reality then looked as good as ever on return to action at Sandown this season when a 1 1/2 lengths third of seven to the ill-fated Beat The Bank in a Group 2 over a mile.
He next scored in terrific style at the same venue when beating Matterhorn by 3 3/4 lengths in a Group 2, before running very well to finishing a never-nearer 2 3/4 lengths third to Enable in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse.
Regal Reality was also far from disgraced last time out when beaten just under four lengths into fifth behind Japan in the aforementioned Juddmonte International at York.
Those efforts have earned him a rating of 120, the second highest in the race and just 2lb lower than Magical.
It makes Regal Reality look overpriced, despite having to give 3lb to O’Brien’s Irish raider in the Champion Stakes.