Saudi Cup Profile: Magic Wand

By Lynne Snierson

Riyadh King Abdulaziz Racetrack – Photo courtesy of Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.

“On the Road Again” must be the theme song for Coolmore’s brilliant international star mare. Though Magic Wand has won just three times in her 23-race career, throughout the years the Irish-bred mare has competed on turf courses all over the globe against the world’s best and been second nine times while bankrolling in excess of $4 million.

Last year alone she racked up a plethora of frequent flyer miles, making 12 starts in six countries in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien sent her to America to try her luck for the second straight year in the Pegasus World Turf Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25, and she settled for the runner-up spot for the second time. After setting the pace under regular rider Ryan Moore, she was run down inside the eighth pole by the fast-closing Zulu Alpha. Now her connections have the Saudi Cup in mind, and not only would this be her first race in Saudi Arabia, it would be her first on dirt.

“Magic Wand ran another good race in America and seems fine since. It’s very possible that she’ll be heading to Saudi Arabia. We’re thinking about running her on the dirt. It’d be something new for her, so we’ll see how she comes out of her last run between now and then,” said O’Brien.

Along with Midnight Bisou, she would be one of two females in the international field, but O’Brien has confidence that Magic Wand can cast her spell on the boys. All but one of her last 16 races have been Grade/Group 1 affairs, and she has competed against all male fields in plenty of them.

“She’s just unbelievable,” O’Brien said following the Grade 1 winner’s narrow defeat to Japanese star Win Bright in the Hong Kong Cup (G1) at 1 ¼ miles in December. “She’s done plenty of traveling and has been very consistent.”

Magic Wand

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Owners: Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier.

Career record: 23 3-9-2

Career earnings:  $4,323,829

Pedigree: Galileo (IRE)-Prudenzia (IRE), by Dansili (GB)

Age: 5

Running style: Versatile. She has been able to be on the pace, rate behind the speed, or close willingly, but all her races were on the grass

Handicapping Insights:

“Globetrotting mare always close, rarely wins vs. world-class turfers; brutal spot for first race on dirt — Ed McNamara

“Always runs well against the best and usually gets a share, often second … Another place might be her ceiling in this one, however, and even that might be asking too much on dirt and against an entirely deeper field.” – Noel Michaels

Notes: Royally bred, she is the daughter of Coolmore’s horse of a lifetime Galileo out of a Dansili mare and was a $1,562,820 yearling purchase at the Arquana Deauville August sale, and even at that price is proven to be a bargain … Galileo, a European champion during his racing career, has been the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland 11 years, including 2019 … With her November score in Australia, Magic Wand became Galileo’s 84th Group/Grade 1 winner, tying him with Danehill for the most in history … O’Brien is the private trainer for the world’s leading racing and breeding operation, Coolmore, and is based at their Ballydoyle headquarters in Ireland … O’Brien indicated that following the Saudi Cup the mare may take to the road again to compete in either the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) or the Dubai Turf (G1) on March 28. She was fifth in the Dubai Sheema Classic in 2019.