Magical has taken her form to a new level in hitting a hat-trick this season, so is well worth siding with for another victory in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 1m 2f at Royal Ascot on Wednesday (15:40).
Trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled three previous winners of this, the daughter of Galileo has won seven of her 15 career starts.
As one of four course winners in this stellar renewal, Magical was a smart juvenile who landed a Curragh Group 2 over 1m 1f on her second start of last season.
Although beaten in two subsequent starts at the highest level, she was far from disgraced in both.
In the first of those, the 1m Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown, Magical found trouble in-running, but went down just three lengths when fourth to Laurens.
She also shaped far better than finishing 10th to Enable in the Arc suggests. Magical was beaten just over five lengths and had to come on the wide outside at Longchamp.
Victory next time out in a 1m 4f fillies and mares’ Group 1 on British Champions Day here saw her score by a length from the handy Coronet.
Although a three-quarters of a length runner-up to Enable in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in America, Magical resumed winning ways on reappearance in the Group 3 Alleged Stakes.
In landing that 1m 2f contest, she beat two Irish Classic winners in Flag Of Honour and Latrobe.
Magical followed-up in the Group 2 Mooresbridge at The Curragh to confirm the form when scoring unextended.
She then easily won the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup by seven lengths. So as Magical is in the form of her life, the 2/1 with Boylesports is well worth taking.
Sea Of Class feared and respected
Sea Of Class returns to action for in-form trainer William Haggas. The lightly-raced Sea The Stars filly progressed at a race of knots last season.
After landing back-to-back Listed contests over this trip at Newbury, Sea Of Class stepped up in grade and trip to complete her hat-trick in the 1m 4f Irish Oaks.
Regular rider James Doyle timed her run to perfection at The Curragh as she came down the outside to get up close home and score by a neck. It was a terrific performance in a Classic under a hands and heels ride.
Sea Of Class was then even more impressive when landing a four-timer in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival, beating the aforementioned Coronet by 2 1/4 lengths.
These displays set up a tilt at the Arc, but Doyle couldn’t quite pull off another customary late dash as Enable just lasted home by a head.
Had Sea Of Class got a clear run inside the two furlong marker, then the result may have been different.
At a standout 11/4 with Coral, she commands the utmost respect. However, Magical is race-fit and Sea Of Class has a 255-day absence to overcome in this vintage renewal.
That may prove a big ask, especially as Sea Of Class was beaten on her first start last season.
There’s no doubt she has sufficient speed to be effective down in trip, however, and it would be no surprise to see her involved in the finish.
On the basis she may need the run alone, this 2019 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes preview suggests taking Sea Of Class on with Magical.
The pair are ideally suited to a reverse forecast though, getting a 3lb sex allowance from other market principals.
Crystal Ocean also has claims
Last year’s Hardwicke Stakes hero Crystal Ocean has been a model of consistency at Ascot as his form figures are 3122 at the Berkshire venue.
Although top on official figures, this Sir Michael Stoute trained five-year-old who is a half-brother to Sea Of Class only comes out level on adjusted ratings with his sibling. He is also 1lb inferior to Magical on these terms.
Crystal Ocean has never been outside the first three, winning seven of 13 career starts and has enjoyed the same preparation for Royal Ascot as 12 months ago.
After a commanding 2 1/2 lengths victory in the Hardwicke over 1m 4f, he had an almighty battle with stable companion Poet’s Word in the King George and went down fighting a neck.
The front two pulled nine lengths clear of Coronet, who is something of a form marker here, before Crystal Ocean chased home Enable in a red-hot Group 3 at Kempton.
Soft going saw him far from disgraced when a six-length runner-up to Cracksman over course and distance in the Group 1 Champion Stakes on his final start of the campaign.
As Crystal Ocean has looked as good as ever in retaining the Gordon Richards and Aston Park Stakes at Sandown and Newbury respectively, he clearly returns for a third Royal Ascot race in good heart.
His task to give 3lb away to two top class fillies is very tough, however. Despite the 9/2 on offer with BetVictor, Crystal Ocean has it all to do in what is arguably the race of the week.
Zabeel Prince worth chancing instead of Waldgeist each-way
It’s hard to see anything else hitting the frame if the first three in the betting run to form, but French raider Waldgeist cannot be ruled out if reproducing his runs on home soil.
Andre Fabre’s five-year-old is a different animal across the Channel, beating none other than Coronet by a nose in a Saint-Cloud Group 1 last July.
That completed a hat-trick and Waldgeist went on to land a four-timer before finishing fourth in the Arc.
Although readily resuming winning ways in the Prix Ganay back at Longchamp with a 4 1/2 lengths success over 2018 French Derby winner Study Of Man on reappearance, he is yet to produce his best away from home.
Waldgeist has form figures outside France of 42455 – the second was at this venue when held a neck in the 2017 Cumberland Lodge. He looks plenty short enough at 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
Better value may lie with Zabeel Prince, for whom the trip is an unknown. This Roger Varian trained six-year-old has posted fine form in winning both of his starts over 1m 1f this season.
Zabeel Prince is very lightly-raced for his age with just 10 starts and six victories under his belt. A 2 3/4 lengths success in the Group 3 Earl Of Seton Stakes at Newmarket on reappearance has a strong look to it.
All of the first four horses home have come out and won top class races. The runner-up Forest Ranger took the Group 2 Huxley Stakes at Chester’s May Festival, whilst third home Mustashry landed the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury.
With Zabeel Prince taking the Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp by three-quarters of a length last time out, odds of 12/1 at William Hill look each-way value.