Going off at huge odds of 66/1 in last year’s Grand National, not many spotted the potential of Magic Of Light ahead of the big race. Going toe-to-toe with the rest of the field over the 4 miles, the Jessica Harrington trained mare finished in remarkable style to land second place.
This was a first for Harrington who had never saddled a Grand National runner. So will Magic Of Light be back and attempting to go one place better for the 2020 Grand National? At the moment things couldn’t look any better for the 9-year-old mare. She started the season with a run at Navan in November but had to settle for third place over hurdles.
One month on and connections were lining her up for the Mare’s Chase at Newbury, a race she had won the previous season as part of her National prep. Prior to the Newbury race Jessica Harrington said: “She’s in great form at home, we’ve managed to get a run over hurdles into her and it’s all part of the plan.”
Newbury & Ascot Races
And it’s a good plan. Magic Of Light stormed it at Newbury winning by a staggering 99L. Not to detract from her great performance because she did run and jump beautifully, it was only a four-horse race. Her three rivals were rated much lower and her nearest rival heading up to the last unseated. That aside, it was a solid win.
From Newbury, Magic Of Light then rolled on to Ascot on January 18th. This was for the Mare’s Hurdle and like Newbury, was run over 2m7f on testing ground. In a repeat of her 2019 road to Aintree, she went out and smashed it in a second successive victory in the race.
Winning jockey Robbie Power said: “I thought it was a much better race than last year and arguably she was more impressive.
“We schooled her last week at home over hurdles, just to get her eye in, and straight away she was down flicking away, but she is a real professional.
“She does feel stronger this season. It was unbelievable when she came back in from her holidays, as she ruled the roost out in the field – she was eating the feed of two horses.
“When she came back in we thought we are never going to get her fit as she got so big and burly.
“I thought today was a better race than last year, on ground that wouldn’t be ideal for her, but she is a real genuine, admirable mare.”
Potential Cheltenham Run
Last season she went on to the Cheltenham Festival where she ran in the Ultima Handicap Chase. That resulted in a 7th place finish. This season connections have their eye on the Mare’s Hurdle where she is currently 16/1 ante-post with most bookmakers.
But not content to wait until March, Harrington is looking around for another race before that. She has already ruled out a trip to Huntington this weekend. Exeter in February is still on the cards so we may see her flex her muscles there instead.
Harrington said: “We’ll run her somewhere in February, all being well, and then we’ll have a go at the Mares’ Hurdle in Cheltenham.
“I don’t know if she’s good enough to win that, but you’d have to say she’s up there with the better mares after her performance yesterday.
“After Cheltenham, roll on the Grand National again.”
Magic Of Light Grand National 2020
So what of her Grand National 2020 chances? If she has improved as much as Robbie Power suggests then could we see an upset at the Tiger Roll party? If she does she would be the first mare in nearly 70 years to do so. Nickel Coin in 1951 was the last mare to win the Grand National.
Undoubtedly jockey Robbie Power will be back on board again. He has already tasted Grand National success when winning onboard Silver Birch for Gordon Elliott in 2007.
Weight-wise, Magic Of Light will definitely go up based on her revised Official Rating. Last season she ran off 10-11. Based on those stats she would likely be around 11-00 or 11-01 this year. But that is dependant on the BHA Handicapper. Weights will be revealed on February 11th.
For now you can back her ante-post at odds of around 20/1. If she continues her winning ways or has a solid run at Cheltenham, expect them to drop even further.