Seeing any horse improve is fantastic but it can especially important with 3yr olds who are just in the infancy of their careers. Whether they were a backward juvenile or just finding the correct trip, 3yr olds have their own age races before then going on to mix it with their elder counterparts. Unfortunately promising starts can go a little bit off track and Magical Spirit did just that. Thankfully a small fix helped him back to his best and the 3yr old was back in the winners enclosure when he scored at Newcastle in the 6f betuk.com Your Home For Online Betting Handicap.
It was the Tapeta surface that Magical Spirit made his return on at the beginning of the season. Off a mark of 71 he went on to finish second on his first foray into handicap company. The same spot was filled on his next run too, when Magical Spirit headed to Redcar and pushed a well handicapped rival close. These two runs had shown plenty of promise for the season ahead and the gelding gained his much deserved win on his third start of the season. Despite hating the track, Magical Spirit won comfortably at Ripon and looked a 3yr old to keep on the right side of.
Unfortunately plans don’t always work out and Magical Spirit ran very disappointingly on his subsequent two runs. On both starts he weakened out of contention very tamely and was beaten a long way. Definitely head scratching performances from a promising gelding, Kevin needed to check under the bonnet and the issue was found. Wind ops are commonplace in horses and in this day and age they are very straight forward procedures.
Ready for a run once again Magical Spirit had the issue of weather, with recent downpours turning many of the tracks to heavy slogs. Thankfully he had form on the AW and so he would return to the Tapeta of Newcastle. The 6f contest would be the first time that the chestnut would tackle his elders but he would be going into the race as the highest rated. There was nine declared and being the highest rated, along with the benefit of his wind op, Magical Spirit was to be sent off as the 7-2 second fav. Kevin Stott is his usual partner and was in the saddle to ride under the Newcastle floodlights.
Jumping well Magical Spirit was to the fore from the off. Although some of his rivals were quicker away their jockeys did not seem too happy with going forward and quickly fought to rein in their mounts. Kevin was happy to let Magical Spirit get into his rhythm and so with minimum fuss the pair were handed the lead. Without any pressure Kevin was allowed to dictate at a relatively calm pace as Magical Spirit spearheaded the field who slotted in behind the chestnut.
After the first furlong Kevin let Magical Spirit stride out and the lead increased to over a length. This saw the pace increase but still no pressure was put on the leader. They edged towards the stands side and as they did so Magical Spirit continued to increase the tempo. For the first half of the race everybody looked happy with their position as well as the way the race was panning out. This would change as they moved past the 3f marker and into the second half.
Magical Spirit was travelling powerfully in front and this seemed to send distress signals to the rest of the field. One by one the jockeys began to ride away trying to reel in Magical Spirit. Now the chestnut was almost against the rail and was still travelling sweetly for Kevin. Despite coming under pressure, nothing was getting into the contest just yet and would need to make up quite a bit of ground int he final 2f.
Having taken Kevin all the way it was now the jockey who asked the question. As the 2f marker whizzed passed them, Magical Spirit and Kevin now kicked for him. The 3yo quickened up and really had the field on the stretch. Between the 2f and 1f marker he pulled away from Almurr who had been giving chase throughout the contest. Although moving away from his rivals, Magical Spirit just began to hang away from the rail and moved into the centre of the track. This gave his rivals a sniff of victory but they still had around 2 lengths to make up.
As they entered the final furlong Kevin had adjusted his mount and got him back into a straight line. Favourite Buccaneer’s Vault and Final Go were the two who had come out of the pack and were giving chase to Magical Spirit. The lead had been cut down to 1 3/4 lengths and it was who could see out the final 150yards the best. Magical Spirit was giving everything out in front but his rivals were really hitting top gear and started making great gains. The lead was getting cut with every stride but Kevin was keeping his own mouth up to the work required. Although holding a decent advantage Magical Spirit was coming back to his rival and the win was far from guaranteed. Fortunately he was brave in front and with 75 yards to run he was still striding out. His advantage was dramatically cut but Magical Spirit was not to be denied and held on to win by 1/2 length.
It was great to Magical Spirit bounce back to form and showed that his poor runs were down to an issue rather than ability. He was on an upward curve so this win puts him right back on track and proves that he is still a progressive horse. Magical Spirit showed good pace but then quickened up nicely before battling away when the challenge was laid down. His sire, Zebedee, does seem to breed genuinely tough progeny and they tend to continue to get better with age and racing. With the AW season beginning there will be plenty more options going forward with Magical Spirit but that will depend on what Kevin and Hambleton Racing decide to do. One thing is for sure, Magical Spirit is back on track and could be a nice sprinter going forward into his 4yo season.