The last Group 1 race of the season in Australia...
In an incredibly tough performance from the Aidan O’Brien-trained Magic Wand, the Irish mares enjoyed their second win of the day as the Melbourne Cup graduate beat home race favourite Melody Belle and retiring Godolphin great Hartnell in the Mackinnon Stakes 2019.
Galileo five-year-old Magic Wand ran fourth first-up down under in the Cox Plate before her outside barrier (24) in Tuesday’s Group 1 $8 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) saw her finish out of the money in 10th.
Despite questions over whether she would be too dour dropping back from a two-mile classic to race again just four days later, the stable knew they had a mare going well and rolled the dice with Magic Wand in the Group 1 $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
It proved the right decision with the globetrotting performer given the run of the race by Ryan Moore, who earlier rode fellow Irish-trained mare True Self to victory in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).
Moore gave Magic Wand the perfect run in transit and she was just too good for her rivals in the 151st running of the now weight-for-age feature.
“She’s a wonderful mare and she very unfortunate not to win a group 1 before today,” champion rider Moore said post-win.
“They’re just so tough and honest these horses.
“She’s a very courageous and very tough, high-class mare who deserves her win today.”
For a moment it looked like a fairytale swansong for the retiring Hartnell, the James Cummings-trained nine-year-old bowing out after an illustrious career that included 34 Group 1 runs.
Hartnell showed his usually tenacity and plenty of fight hitting the front on the straight after tracking second behind front runner Gailo Chop, but Magic Wand brought the class to the table and surged ahead in a really close finish.
“She’s a very good filly,” O’Brien’s travelling foreman TJ Comerford said of Magic Wand.
“She’s very tough. She ran two miles the other day, she ran in a Cox Plate and she’s won today. You won’t find many who’ll do that.
“We knew she was in good form…it was a good result.”
The punters were on the star Kiwi mare Melody Belle, a 10-time Group 1 winner on the seven-day turnaround following her Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) victory on Derby Day.
She was far from disgraced putting in an enormous late run from the back having settled third last before flying home to cross second just in front of the grand old campaigner Hartnell who rounded out the exciting Mackinnon Stakes trifecta.
“A fitting send-off for him to have performed so well,” Cummings said of Hartnell whose placing saw him move into the top 10 earning racehorses from Australia and New Zealand.
“He’s a beautiful horse. He’s been a wonderful horse to our stable and we’ll miss him dearly.”
2019 Mackinnon Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||14||MAGIC WAND (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore||–||9||57kg||$4.80|
|2||15||MELODY BELLE (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||1L||15||57kg||$3.80F|
|3||1||HARTNELL (GB)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||1.1L||13||59kg||$10|
|4||9||LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||1.3L||4||59kg||$41|
|5||11||FIFTY STARS (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Jye McNeil||3.3L||10||59kg||$16|
|6||8||KINGS WILL DREAM (IRE)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||3.5L||12||59kg||$7|
|7||5||SUZUKA DEVIOUS (JPN)||Mitsuru Hashida||Michael Dee||5L||16||59kg||$61|
|8||6||KLUGER (JPN)||Tomokazu Takano||Kerrin McEvoy||5.4L||8||59kg||$18|
|9||3||HUMIDOR (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Damian Lane||5.5L||11||59kg||$12|
|10||16||ARISTIA||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Craig Williams||6.25L||5||56.5kg||$20|
|11||2||GAILO CHOP (FR)||Matthew Williams||John Allen||6.75L||14||59kg||$51|
|12||7||HARLEM (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Jamie Kah||6.95L||3||59kg||$31|
|13||12||NIGHT’S WATCH (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||7.15L||1||59kg||$31|
|14||10||SO SI BON||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Luke Nolen||11.4L||7||59kg||$51|
|15||4||DEBT AGENT (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Michael Rodd||12.9L||6||59kg||$41|
|16||13||CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||13.9L||2||57.5kg||$21|
|–||18e||ADMIRAL’S JOKER||Kylie Vella||Craig Williams||–||0||–||–|
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