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Appleby targets Lockinge glory with Mythical Magic

3 Apr 2019

Trainer will attempt to provide Godolphin with a ninth triumph in the mile feature.

Rhododendron pipped Lightning Spear in last year’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes. Picture:

Charlie Appleby is hoping Mythical Magic can provide Godolphin with another triumph in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18.

Sheikh Mohammed’s operation have already won the QIPCO British Champions Series feature a record eight times, most recently with Ribchester in 2017.

Mythical Magic made his breakthrough at pattern level with an impressive win from Century Dream in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile in Dubai in February and is Appleby’s only entry in £350,000 mile contest, which has attracted 34 entries.

Accidental Agent,  Without Parole, Billesdon BrookLaurens and Magical, all winners of Champions Series races last year, are also among those engaged.

Mythical Magic was a highly regarded two-year-old who last raced in Britain when finishing third in the 2017 Horris Hill Stakes, now run as the Worthington’s Stakes, at Newbury.

“The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes is a race we have had our eye on for a while now for Mythical Magic,” Appleby said. “He was second to D’bai in the Al Fahidi Fort and then he won the Zabeel Mile well, beating Century Dream and two others of ours, First Contact and Wootton.

“We stopped him after that with a view to returning to the UK to run him in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes.

He added: “He is an Iffraaj horse that I always thought a lot of as a two-year-old. He has just been a big unit who took time to mature. Luckily we have been able to give him time and now is his chance to repay us. I feel he fits the bill well for a race like the Lockinge.”

Last year Aidan O’Brien saddled Rhododendron to become the first filly for 11 years to win the Lockinge and this year’s prize has drawn a stellar group of females, headed by Magical and Laurens.

Laurens, trained by Karl Burke, had Magical back in fourth when she captured the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, one of four Group 1 triumphs last year, after which Magical moved up in trip to win the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares, and finish second behind Enable in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

As well as Magical, O’Brien has entered Amedeo Modigliani, Le Brivido and I Can Fly.

The Lockinge will also be the target of Accidental Agent, who finished sixth in the race last year before going on the land the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“That will be the starting point,” said trainer Eve Johnson Houghton. “He had a little setback at the end of last year and it’s taken him time to get over it. He will probably need his first run but he has done well physically and he loves a straight mile.”