Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Champion Stakes and pick out their 1-2-3...
"...sets the standard based on the pick of her form behind Enable and Crystal Ocean..."
Timeform on Magical
1. Addeybb (William Haggas/James Doyle)
Revels in the mud. Proved he stays this far when winning 1¼m listed Wolferton Stakes on deteriorating ground here in June (in first-time cheekpieces), and bounced back from a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Elarqam in York Stakes when producing a career-best effort to win Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on heavy ground on his last start in August. That boosted his career strike rate to an impressive 50% (seven from 14) and he is well worth another crack at the highest level, keeping in mind he had excuses on both occasions he has failed to fire in Group 1 company.
2. Regal Reality (Sir Michael Stoute/Jim Crowley)
Has proved better than ever this season, building on an encouraging comeback in Sandown Mile to win Brigadier Gerard Stakes back at Sandown in May. Showed even better form in defeat (despite again proving tricky in the preliminaries) when finishing behind Enable and Magical in Coral-Eclipse. Seemed unsuited by soft ground when only fourth in York Stakes (Addeybb was runner-up) but bounced back on a sound surface to finish a close-up fifth in Juddmonte International Stakes (won by Japan). Has a bit to find, though, and conditions may not be ideal.
3. Coronet (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
Beaten a length by Magical in Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes last year, improving on her third-place finish the previous campaign. She has looked as good as ever this season, gaining a long-awaited top-flight breakthrough in 1½m Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (found plenty to prevail by a short neck) and then doubled her tally by producing an even better performance to land Prix Jean Romanet. Latest success was achieved on soft ground, so neither conditions nor the trip will be a problem, but she could come up just short.
4. Deirdre (Mitsuru Hashida/Oisin Murphy)
Very smart performer in Japan who has made a big impression in Europe this season, leaving behind a disappointing effort on soft ground in Prince of Wales's Stakes here in June to win Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, becoming just the second Japanese-trained horse to win at Group 1 level in Britain. Ran at least as well at Leopardstown in Irish Champion Stakes (won by Magical) last month, but finished only fourth having received no luck in running. Respected on the back of those two efforts but there's a suspicion she will prove more effective on a better surface.
5. I Can Fly (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Narrowly denied by the top-class Roaring Lion in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on this card last year and that remains her best effort, for all she has performed creditably this season to finish third in Sussex Stakes and fourth behind Coronet in the Prix Jean Romanet.
6. Magical (Aidan O'Brien/Donnacha O'Brien)
Consistent, high-class filly who has won three times at the highest level, including on this card last year in Fillies & Mares Stakes. Would have had more success in Group 1 company were it not for the presence of Enable (has finished runner-up to her three times) but took advantage of that mare's absence to win Irish Champion Stakes (by two and a quarter lengths from Magic Wand) on her penultimate start. Best not judged on a rare disappointing display in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp last time (chased a strong pace) and sets the standard based on the pick of her form behind Enable and Crystal Ocean. Leading form player.
7. Fox Tal (Andrew Balding/Silvestre De Sousa)
Lightly-raced three-year-old who brushed aside an 11-month absence to make successful return in minor event at Doncaster last month, impressing with how he quickened inside the final furlong. Has the potential to do better, but has plenty to find on ratings and is unproven on testing ground.
8. Pondus (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt)
Unraced at two but has quickly established himself as a smart performer. Arguably produced his best effort when beaten two and a quarter lengths by Addeybb, which shows he handles testing ground, but no obvious reason why he should reverse the form.
9. Mehdaayih (John Gosden/Robert Havlin)
Seemed to revel in soft ground when bolting up in Cheshire Oaks in May, and put a luckless run in the Oaks at Epsom behind her when winning Group 2 Prix de Malleret at Saint-Cloud the following month. Performed even better in defeat when overhauled by Deirdre in Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood after doing too much too soon, but has to bounce back from a tame effort in Prix de l'Opera, where she was beaten nearly 12 lengths after being sent off favourite.
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Timeform's Champion Stakes Analyst Verdict
This comes at the end of a long season for MAGICAL but there was an excuse in the Arc and her overall record suggests there's a good chance she'll bounce straight back to her best. If she does she'll be a tough nut to crack, with Addeybb perhaps the one likely to give her most to do. Coronet has a good track record so also merits plenty of respect.
Timeform's Champion Stakes 1-2-3