Ruby Walsh: What made Magical beating Ghaiyyath in Irish Champion Stakes even more impressive

Ruby was glad a spoiler didn't disrupt the race on Saturday

Ruby Walsh

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Ruby Walsh believes Magical’s victory in the Irish Champion Stakes was a stand-out display because the five-year-old had to beat Ghaiyyath without the help of her stablemates.

Last week on Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby suggested that Aidan O’Brien’s three runners may have to work together in order to see off Ghaiyyath at Leopardstown.

But with Japan and Armoury unable to live with the pace at the front, Magical had to mount a solo challenge to the Godolphin-owned Ghaiyyath.

And speaking on the latest episode of our now twice-weekly podcast, Ruby says this duel is what made Magical’s second consecutive Irish Champion Stakes crown all the more eye-catching.

What made the win even more impressive was the fact that a ‘live one’ – a horse that actually could beat Ghaiyyath – went with him and served it up to him.

It became a duel all the way between two horses that actually could win the race. There wasn’t one put in as a spoiler, or one sent to disturb Ghaiyyath.

The two best horses, or the three best as Japan went with them but wasn’t able to keep going, went at it from the start.

That allowed Armoury to run on and finish third but he didn’t take part in the race.

That’s what made it the duel it was, and that’s what made it such a brilliant race to watch.

The fact that two ‘live ones’ went at it every step of the way.

Paddy Power also praised Magical’s performance, saying that Seamie Heffernan played his cards right to keep on the back of the 8/13 favourite – who had won on all four previous starts in 2020 – until the closing strides.

Magical was brilliant. She shouldn’t have been beating Ghaiyyath based on what we’ve seen this year.

But Ruby made the point that when you get to Aidan O’Brien’s back yard – Leopardstown – and with the horse having been there and done that before, she looked so comfortable.

And with the tactics of the race, Magical just stayed on Ghaiyyath’s boot the whole way around and just out-battled him.

There are no excuses for anyone – it was just a really brave performance from Magical.

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