Nicky Henderson says Constitution Hill “couldn’t be better” following his summer break – but he is yet to partake in the all-important schooling session which could determine if jumps racing’s unbeaten superstar remains over hurdles or goes chasing.

National Hunt racing’s flagship horse is a perfect seven from seven in his career to date and has swept the board over timber, blowing away his rivals to win six Grade One prizes on the bounce.

Having conquered all over the smaller obstacles, the burning question is whether connections will take the plunge and embark on a campaign over fences with the reigning Champion Hurdler in the new season.

Constitution Hill is back at Seven Barrows following an enjoyable summer at Hillwood Stud, with owner Michael Buckley and Henderson having plenty to consider together with jockey Nico de Boinville.

“He couldn’t be better, he’s looking enormous and great,” said Henderson.

“We’re waiting for the weather just to have a look-see and it will probably be a few weeks before we do, but we’re looking at him, not that he can talk.”

It is not the first time Henderson has had to make the crucial decision over which direction to send one of his stable stars, with the situation reminding him of Altior’s early days at the Lambourn centre of excellence.

Patricia Pugh’s pride and joy was unbeaten in five outings over hurdles, but the decision was made to switch and he went on to win 15 of his 18 starts over fences, including the Champion Chase twice and the Arkle.

However, Henderson believes there are more variables at play on this occasion, with the pull of becoming the first horse since Dawn Run to win both the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup meaning stamina is a vital component connections need to be sure is in Constitution Hill’s armoury.

“It’s a difficult dilemma and I remember going through it with Altior when we were in exactly the same boat – OK, he hadn’t won a Champion Hurdle but he would have done if he had stayed hurdling, there is no doubt about that.

“It’s the same dilemma and again we schooled Altior over fences and he was absolutely brilliant and we decided to go down that route.

“There are other issues to consider this time, because it is also going to be a question of stamina really and we would be doing it if we think he is a stayer.

“You would want to be thinking along the Gold Cup lines, that would be the reason for going chasing.

“He can do most things because he is so relaxed about life and I think he would stay as far as you liked to be honest. He just goes to sleep very easily and he’s not one who will overrace.

“We’ve been talking about it as you can guess, but Nico is still away at the moment because there is a break (in the summer jumps season) and we’ll keep thinking, but he’s in very good form.”

Big Rock will bid for Group One glory in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.

The Christopher Head-trained Rock Of Gibraltar colt has had a superb season so far, starting off with a wide-margin handicap success before progressing up the levels in a three-race winning streak.

The first leg of the hat-trick was the Listed Prix Maurice Caillault, which he won by four and a half lengths, after which he took in the Group Three Prix la Force and was a comfortable winner again.

At the same level he landed the Prix de Guiche by an unchallenged three lengths and the following month he stepped up to an extended 10 furlongs for the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, running a huge race from the front before Arc favourite Ace Impact ran him down.

Another big-race tilt now awaits for the three-year-old, back to a mile against the likes of Kevin Ryan’s Queen Anne winner Triple Time.

“He’s going to run on Sunday at Deauville, everything is all right with him,” said Head.

“He is in good form and we are pretty optimistic about his run in the Jacques le Marois.

“He has been working well and we are looking forward to having another Group One run with him.

“He takes his racing very well and is a very nice horse.”

Majestic Beauty is expected to maintain her unbeaten record in the British EBF Ruby Anniversary Novice Stakes at Musselburgh.

Trainer Alice Haynes is in double figures in terms of juvenile winners this season and this daughter of Havana Grey certainly looked the part on her racecourse debut at Catterick in May.

Majestic Beauty was short odds to make a successful start to her career at the North Yorkshire track and soon recovered from a tardy start to win comfortably by two and a half lengths.

Hindsight tells us that form is not too shabby by Catterick standards, with the runner-up Specific Times since landing a nursery at York and third-placed Harvana now a dual winner.

Assuming Haynes has her filly fit enough to do herself justice after nearly three months off the track, she should prove very hard to beat.

Idilico can open his account for the season in the Stobo Castle Ladies Day Gold Cup Handicap.

Dianne Sayer’s eight-year-old is a regular visitor to Musselburgh and has been placed twice already this term.

He was disappointing over hurdles at Perth on his most recent outing, but a return to Flat on a track that suits may yield a return to form. The booking of Joe Fanning suggests connections mean business.

Not many trainers have their horses in better form than John Quinn and Poet’s Magic is taken to continue the trainer’s hot streak in the Gaynor Winyard Trophy Handicap.

The seven-year-old is only a pound above her last winning mark and is tipped to put a below-par first run of the season behind her.

Nibras Angel is out to double her tally in the Robert (Bob) Vickery Memorial Novice Stakes at Thirsk.

Trainer Ismail Mohammed is no stranger to handling high-class fillies, having saddled Zain Claudette to win both the Princess Margaret and the Lowther Stakes a couple of years ago.

Nibras Angel, who carries the same colours as her stablemate, made a big impression when scorching clear on her Lingfield introduction last month and the subsequent success of the third Time’s Eye gives the form a solid enough look.

Mohammed’s filly holds a Group One entry in the Sun Chariot later in the year and while that may be pie in the sky at this stage, she can keep the dream alive with a second victory.

May Blossom can complete her hat-trick for David O’Meara in the Best Odds Guaranteed At Vickers.Bet Handicap following back-to-back wins in July, while the lightly-raced Crow’s Nest looks a good bet in the Star Sports Festival Of Racing Handicap at Brighton.

The latter looked a winner in waiting when third on his debut at Windsor in May and he duly dotted up at Hamilton next time before successfully defying a penalty at Bath.

Softer ground over six furlongs appeared to blunt his speed at Newmarket on his handicap debut, but he still ran with plenty of credit to finish third and with further improvement anticipated, he looks feasibly treated on his return to a sounder surface.

Haydock punters should side with Karl Burke’s Mannerism in the oakflooringman.com EBF Novice Stakes.

The Caravaggio gelding was beaten just a length when third on his introduction on Merseyside three weeks ago and while the winner Paladin did not cover himself in glory at Goodwood last week, Mannerism’s stablemate Ice Max, who finished fourth, outclassed his rivals at Catterick on Tuesday.

With Tom Marquand in the saddle, Mannerism can add to Burke’s considerable juvenile haul.

SELECTIONS:

BRIGHTON: 2.30 Notre Maison, 3.00 Sparklight, 3.30 Miller Spirit, 4.00 Crow’s Nest, 4.35 Lilkian, 5.05 Harry The Haggler.

HAYDOCK: 5.40 Lenny’s Spirit, 6.15 Mannerism, 6.50 Couplet, 7.25 Alshinfarah, 8.00 Sovereign Queen, 8.35 Unequal Love.

MUSSELBURGH: 2.20 Freak Out, 2.50 MAJESTIC BEAUTY (NAP), 3.20 Idilico, 3.50 Poet’s Magic, 4.20 End Zone, 4.53 War Defender.

NEWMARKET: 4.49 Habrdi, 5.25 Us Navy Jack, 6.00 Broadway Act, 6.35 Jayyash, 7.10 Kingori, 7.45 Astral Spirit, 8.20 Champagne Sarah.

THIRSK: 2.10 Chester Le Streak, 2.40 Bint Havana Grey, 3.10 On Borrowed Time, 3.40 Nibras Angel, 4.10 May Blossom, 4.40 Moulin Booj, 5.10 Prince Achille.

TIPPERARY: 4.45 Double Jabbed, 5.15 Harmony Rose, 5.50 Tamazu, 6.25 Andromeda, 7.00 Bremen, 7.35 First Gentleman, 8.10 Chatterbox.

WEXFORD: 4.55 Dutch Schultz, 5.30 Star Official, 6.05 Jesina, 6.40 Midnight Our Fred, 7.15 Gali Flight, 7.50 Look Dont Touch, 8.25 Meet My Loreley.

DOUBLE: Majestic Beauty and Nibras Angel.

Mansa Musa could continue his racing career in Hong Kong following his shock maiden win at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Trained by Irish-based Brazilian Diego Dias, the son of Ten Sovereigns was sent off at 20-1 for the British EBF 40th Anniversary Maiden Stakes over six furlongs, but showed a good deal of ability to repel the well-regarded 4-6 favourite Array at the business end of the contest.

The former jockey, who trains on the Curragh, was keen to add the talented youngster to the line-up for this Saturday’s Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on home soil, but a deal now appears to be done for Mansa Musa to head to the Far East.

“It’s nice to work with horses like him,” said Dias.

“He was showing plenty at home and we thought he was a proper little horse who could win first time out.

“He improved a lot at Goodwood and the form is good. The second horse is a nice horse who they think a lot of and it was a hot maiden.

“I was going to supplement him for the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, but I think we have sold him and he is probably heading to Hong Kong.”

Even though Mansa Musa will not be seen at the Curragh this weekend, another of Dias’ string is set to take her chance in the Group One contest, with Deauville runner-up Gaenari poised for the go-ahead.

Although still a maiden, she has twice placed in Listed company and the handler is happy with her condition ahead of her foray into deep waters.

Dias added: “She was second in Deauville last time, but she came back home and she’s fresh and happy and we will probably give her a run in the Phoenix.

“She looks fine and the race at Deauville did not take much out of her, so she’s in great form.

“She’s been unfortunate not to get her head in front yet, she’s been second three times now and two times in Listed races.”

Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group winner Little Big Bear has been retired due to injury.

The son of No Nay Never was the champion two-year-old in Europe last year, winning a string of races that included the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, the Anglesey Stakes and the Phoenix Stakes – the latter a Group One he took by seven lengths.

He did not run again as a juvenile, and as a three-year-old his 2000 Guineas bid did not go to plan, but he was victorious again when dropped in drip for the Sandy Lane and was then beaten only by Shaquille when second in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.

His final run came in the July Cup, where Shaquille was the winner but Little Big Bear finished last of all when eased up by Ryan Moore having been hampered two furlongs out.

A late setback meant he missed last weekend’s Prix Maurice de Gheest, and the discovery of a condylar fracture on the right-front fetlock now means he will not race again.

O’Brien said via the website of owners Coolmore: “Little Big Bear is a super horse; that’s the long and the short of it.

“Different class, different gear and matured very early for a big horse.

“He’s big, scopey, strong, clear winded and very, very fast – a class sprinter.”

George Scott is readying Watch My Tracer for a valuable sales race at Newmarket after soft ground scuppered an intended outing at Goodwood last week.

The Dandy Man gelding was a winner on debut at Yarmouth in May and ran a creditable race to finish just under five lengths behind the unbeaten River Tiber when seventh in the Coventry at Royal Ascot.

He got back on the winning trail with a three-length success at Windsor last month and Scott had been targeting the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood before conditions went against him.

Watch My Tracer holds an entry in the Gimcrack Stakes at York on August 25, but is more likely to head to the July Course the following afternoon for the Tattersalls Somerville Auction Stakes, a six-furlong contest worth £100,000 to the winner.

“We took him out of Goodwood on account of the ground. I think he’d have been OK with some rain, but it was almost specialist conditions,” Scott said.

“He’s a gelding so we’ll go to the Tattersalls sales race, which is two weeks on Saturday, and he can hopefully go on to the Mill Reef after that.

“He’s a nice horse, he keeps improving at home as well.

“Ascot came too soon for him really and we feel the best is yet to come.”

The trainer added: “He’s quite an exciting horse and I think the sales race will be a very sensible step for him as the Gimcrack is going to be particularly hot.

“With such good money on offer in that sales race, it’s going to be a good stepping stone back into stakes company.”

The grey has both a long stride and a good turn of foot, meaning his limitations with regards to trip are not immediately obvious from his efforts so far.

“It’s hard to know with regards to his trip. He’s not just visually long-striding, he’s clocking a big stride length relative to other horses,” Scott went on.

“If you gave me an option I’d rather an easy six furlongs than a stiff six because he’s got plenty of pace, hence why I was always wanting to go to Goodwood with him.”

Scott believes he has another promising juvenile on his hands in Piz Nair, a Bated Breath colt who won the second division of the same Windsor novice that Watch My Tracer landed in mid-July.

A move into Group-race company is now on the agenda, with the Acomb Stakes at York identified as a suitable target.

“I’m pleased with how he’s working in the morning, I’m really considering the Acomb for him,” said Scott.

“He’s doing very well physically and he’s got a lovely pedigree – he’s out of a winning Galileo mare and he should just keep improving.

“If he sticks his hand up in the next couple of weeks we’ll go for the Acomb, but if there’s any sign that he’s not ready for that then we’ll run in another novice and look to step into that company further down the line.”

The Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September was mentioned as a long-term objective after Piz Nair’s Windsor win and that Group Two contest remains on Scott’s radar.

“He’s got a bit of racing to do before we make a plan on that but I think he’s a nice horse,” he said.

“It would be lovely to think we could put him away for the winter and dream of some nice races next year. I don’t want to get carried away but I do quite like him.”

Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma both hit fifties as India defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in the third T20I at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Tuesday.

The hosts posted 159-5 off their 20 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat.

Brandon King led the way with a run-a-ball 42 while Captain Rovman Powell made a rapid 19-ball 40* including one four and three sixes.

Kuldeep Yadav took 3-28 from his four overs for India.

India’s chase started shakily with the wickets of debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill within the first five overs.

Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma then combined to put on a match-winning 87-run third wicket partnership.

Yadav led the way with a shot-filled 44-ball 83 including 10 fours and four sixes while Varma ended 49* off 37 balls.

Captain Hardik Pandya also chipped in with 20* off 15 balls as India finished 164-3 off 17.5 overs.

Alzarri Joseph took 2-25 from his four overs for the Windies.

The West Indies now have a 2-1 lead in the series heading into the final two games.

The series will now move to Florida for the fourth and fifth T20Is on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Kevin Ryan is planning to saddle both Triple Time and Hi Royal in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.

Triple Time has been kept fresh since causing a 33-1 upset in the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and is firmly on course for a cross-Channel raid this weekend.

His younger stablemate Hi Royal was placed in both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish Guineas at the Curragh in the spring, but never threatened to land a blow in last month’s Prix Jean Prat.

However, he too is being readied for a return to Deauville, with William Buick booked for the ride.

Ryan said: “Both horses are in good form, Triple Time was very good at Royal Ascot and I’m looking forward to running him again.

“Hi Royal has always been a very consistent horse other than his last start and he’s been working well.

“Neil Callan will obviously ride Triple Time and William Buick has become available and rides Hi Royal.”

Conditions have been testing recently but a dry week both here and in France should see the ground improve and Ryan is hopeful the going will not be an issue at the weekend.

He said: “It’s a dry week, the ground today was good to soft and I don’t think there’s any rain forecast – it should be drying out all the time.”

Frankie Dettori is keen for the equine stars to be the focus of attention on Qipco Champions Day, despite the fact the Ascot extravaganza will also be his swansong on European soil.

The entries for the five main races on the October 21 card were published on Tuesday, with the brilliant Paddington headlining a stellar cast

Having secured his fourth Group One victory of the season in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last week, Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old has been entered for the both the £1.3million Qipco Champion Stakes and the £1.1million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The three remaining Pattern races – the Long Distance Cup, the British Champions Sprint and the Fillies & Mares Stakes – each offer a total prize fund of £500,000, meaning prize money for Champions Day totals £4.1million, cementing its position as the richest raceday in the British calendar.

Entries also include the unbeaten Prix du Jockey Club winner Ace Impact and the last two Betfred Derby winners in Auguste Rodin and Desert Crown, as well as other Group One stars in the shape of the impressive Prince of Wales’s winner Mostahdaf and star sprinter Shaquille, winner of both the Commonwealth Cup and the July Cup this season.

But for all the brilliant action set to take place on the track, for many the star attraction will be Dettori, who is set to make his final appearance in Britain and Europe before retiring from the saddle later in the year.

He said: “Qipco British Champions Day is a great concept with great prize money. Racing for the kind of money which the rest of the world is doing more regularly.

“It was very hard to pick my last day riding in England. I had thought about Newmarket the week before but Ascot is my favourite track with so many great memories. It is going to be a special day and my family is going to be there.

“I don’t want to take the gloss off the day. The day is about the best day’s racing and not about my last day riding here before I go to America for the Breeders’ Cup and then Australia and Hong Kong before retiring at the end of the year.”

Reflecting on some of his Champions Day highlights, the 52-year-old added: “It was very good last year with Emily Upjohn coming back to win (the Fillies & Mares) after a long layoff and then Kinross, my favourite horse, winning first the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp and then 13 days later the British Champions Sprint.

“Another highlight was Cracksman, who gave me a first win after years of trying in the Champion Stakes in 2017 and won it again the next year.”

Bucanero Fuerte is set to renew rivalry with his Royal Ascot conqueror River Tiber in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

Aidan O’Brien claimed the Group One contest for a remarkable 17th time with Little Big Bear 12 months ago and is responsible for six of the 12 juveniles still in contention for this year’s renewal.

The Ballydoyle handler’s chief hope is River Tiber, who stretched his unbeaten record to three in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting in June and is second only to stablemate City Of Troy in the ante-post betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

Alabama, His Majesty, Johannes Brahms, The Caribbean and Unquestionable complete the O’Brien sextet.

Just a length behind River Tiber when third in the Coventry was the Adrian Murray-trained Bucanero Fuerte, who subsequently proved that performance was no fluke by edging out Unquestionable in the Group Two Railway Stakes over the Phoenix course and distance.

Murray has also left his 150-1 Norfolk Stakes winner Valiant Force and Launch in the Group One contest at the six-day stage, but looks set to rely upon his Railway winner.

He said: “Bucanero Fuerte is the one that’s probably going to go.

“All has gone well since the Railway. We took him and Valiant Force to work at the Curragh last week and we were very happy with the two of them. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards.

“You don’t know until you run, but looks like he (Bucanero Fuerte) is improving all the time.”

Assuming Bucanero Fuerte does line up at the Curragh, his stablemate Valiant Force could head to France in search of a Group One win of his own.

“He’s going to Deauville in two weeks’ time for the Prix Morny. We’re looking forward to it – the pressure is on,” Murray added.

The potential Phoenix field is completed by Donnacha O’Brien’s Porta Fortuna, winner of the Albany Stakes at the Royal meeting, Jessica Harrington’s Coventry fourth Givemethebeatboys and the Diego Dias-trained Gaenari.

The Weymouth Wales are the 2023 Barbados Football Association Premier League champions after a 2-1 win over Empire at the Wildey Astro Turf at the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Bridgetown.

Empire took the lead in the 18th minute through Ormando McLeod before Romario Harewood got Weymouth’s equalizer 20 minutes later.

Five minutes into the second half, Hadan Holligan got Weymouth’s winner.

Weymouth Wales now have an unassailable ten-point lead at the top of the table with three matches remaining.

“Glad to be Premier League champions. The feeling is very, very good,” said Weymouth coach Carlos Jackman after the game.

Nothing is ever straightforward. We didn’t take anything for granted. We knew that we had to come out and play. All the teams came out to beat Wales and the standard of their play raised every time they played us. We were the team to beat,” Jackman added.

Jackman also went into reasons for his team’s success this season.

“Team spirit and camaraderie. The guys also had a willingness to succeed. They want to win and the guys play hard to win,” he said.

As for his plans for this team going forward, Jackman said their focus will now shift to upcoming tournaments.

“The immediate target is to prepare for the knockout cup then, after that, we begin preparations for the Concacaf Club Championship next year which is the biggest challenge for us.”

 

Via Sistina will head to France in search of further Group One glory in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on Sunday week.

Hugely impressive on her seasonal debut in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket, George Boughey’s filly subsequently struck gold at the top table in the Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland.

She was beaten into third when a hot favourite to double her top-level tally in the Falmouth Stakes back on home soil last month and having sidestepped last week’s Nassau at Goodwood, she is being readied for a trip across the Channel.

Boughey said: “Via Sistina is in great shape. It was a little frustrating watching the Nassau without having her in it in that (soft) ground, but it was never really the plan after we went to the Falmouth and she’s getting ready to run in the Romanet at Deauville on August 20.

“She’d had two quick runs and we’ve got to pick our battles – you can’t run in every race – and it’s been the plan to run in the Romanet for a long time should the ground be right for her.

“It’s the last four-year-old and above fillies only race for her this year and we’re very pleased with her. She worked yesterday (Monday) morning, Jamie Spencer sat on her and was very happy.”

Having come up short over a mile in the Falmouth, Via Sistina will return to a mile and a quarter at Deauville and looks set to stick to longer distances for the rest of the campaign.

“We wanted to experiment over the mile in the Falmouth, but she was tapped for toe and we’ll go back up in trip,” Boughey added.

“She’s entered in the 10-furlong (Champion Stakes) and the 12-furlong race (Fillies & Mares Stakes) on Champions Day at Ascot and she’ll be in the Prix de l’Opera over 10 (furlongs) on Arc day.”

More immediately the Newmarket handler is hoping to run his high-class juvenile filly Soprano on the July course in this weekend’s Molson Coors Sweet Solera Stakes.

Third in the Albany Stakes over six furlongs at Royal Ascot, the daughter of Starspangledbanner occupied the same finishing position when a hot favourite to successfully step up to seven in the Star Stakes at Sandown a fortnight ago.

Despite that reverse, Boughey is keen to give his younger star another chance over the longer trip in Saturday’s Group Three feature if conditions are deemed suitable.

He said: “The ground is a bit of a question mark and has been for a while, but it’s been dry in Newmarket the last few days and if it stays that way she will certainly be turning up on Saturday.

“She worked very well this morning and it’s all systems go really.”

Adrian Maguire has been blessed to partner and train some some top-class horses in his career.

Widely regarded as a supreme talent in the saddle, it has been 21 years since a broken neck forced his premature retirement from the rigours of riding National Hunt horses.

“Fit and well”, he is now a key cog in the well-oiled machine at Ballydoyle, riding out each day for Aidan O’Brien. And he has the pleasure of partnering a certain Paddington.

“I’m making a living. If we’re doing that, we’re doing all right,” said Maguire.

“I’ve been here five and a half years now. I am enjoying it. It’s very good. We have the best of everything.

“When I came here first, I found it very, very boring. All I was doing was going up a straight gallop and it took a while to adjust and just take myself back a few steps and relax into it.

“All’s good, my health is good.”

Maguire rode over 1,000 winners in his career, with plenty of big-race success which included a Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cool Ground in 1992, a Champion Chase with Viking Flagship a couple of years later and a pair of King George VI Chase wins with Barton Bank and Florida Pearl.

Once retired, he was also responsible for the development of 2008 Gold Cup hero Denman, before he was sold to Paul Nicholls.

He dabbled with pin-hooking and then joined the training ranks himself, saddling some decent horses, such as multiple Grade Two-winning hurdler Celestial Wave and versatile 10-time winner Golden Kite.

Increased competition and escalating costs forced him to call a halt in 2017. But you cannot keep a good man down for long.

He is now associated with a Flat champion in Paddington, who won his fourth consecutive Group One when taking the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

“I ride out Paddington every day,” said Maguire. “For what he has achieved so far, he’s the best I’ve ever ridden.

“He’s an amazing horse. He was always a good horse, but what he’s doing on the racecourse, to win with great authority, is leaving no doubt in people’s minds.

“It’s great. I can only imagine how far he’ll go and seeing the reaction here at Ballydoyle, everyone is so delighted to have what people are calling a superstar horse at the moment in the yard.

“Everyone gets great joy out of watching him do what he is doing.”

Paddington has surprised even O’Brien with the rapid improvement he has shown this season.

Though bred in the purple, the son of Siyouni showed precious little hint of what he would achieve when beaten eight lengths in a seven-furlong debut at Ascot in September.

He he has remained unbeaten in seven races since, however, including victories in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, before claiming a 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse win.

Invariably all the good ones have their own unique personality and Maguire says Paddington knows he is something out of the ordinary on the gallops.

“He knows he’s good. He just seems very solid,” he said.

“It’s always nice to ride a special horse. It is what we all do it for – to find that special horse.

“I have been lucky through my riding career to find special horses to ride. I had one or two when I was training also – and Paddington is a very special horse.”

Maguire’s riding career will always be remembered for the epic race for the 1993-94 jump jockeys’ title, a battle that pushed both he and eventual champion Richard Dunwoody to mental and physical limits that few will ever know. Maguire lost 194 winners to 197 in that brutal season.

Considered “a true horseman” by the late, great trainer David Nicholson, the 52-year-old learned plenty in his time as a jockey under ‘The Duke’ and he holds O’Brien in high regard.

“The one thing I admired about Aidan O’Brien before I came here was not only was he a world-class trainer, but he was able to handle the men he was involved with and keep them happy,” said Maguire.

“Then of course, there is the extra pressure of these big races. It is not an easy job.

“I can’t say I know the man more now than when I came here first. He is a very straightforward man. You know what you are going to get. He is a very fair man.

“He is obviously a world-class trainer and he’d be a good diplomat, too.

“Having trained myself, I do certainly have plenty of empathy with what he has to go through, but he does have some great people around him, so that has to be a help.

“It is a lot about delegating, but he likes to have his finger on every pulse.”

Maguire makes the hour-long journey from his home near Mallow every morning to play his part in the powerful Coolmore operation and while Paddington is the apple of his eye, he is always startled at the talent on display.

“I ride a couple of two-year-olds as well,” he added. “Every horse in Ballydoyle is bred to be a superstar. You think you have a nice horse one week, until you sit on another one the following week. It is unbelievable, the talent.

“When I was riding, no matter where I was, I always enjoyed it. Cartmel, Kempton, Cheltenham – it didn’t make a difference.

“But this is a great job and there is a great bunch of staff here, both riding out and on the ground, and it is an extremely well-driven operation.”

Enjoying life, content with his lot, Maguire will happily remain in the shadows. Like every one of the team, he watches with equal measure of pride and wonder at the progress Paddington is making.

But just how far can he go?

“I think anyone watching him run and watching him winning knows as much as I do,” he insisted.

“He is very authoritative in his wins. He leaves no doubt in people’s minds. He does what it says on the tin and he can’t do any more. He is just a very special individual.”

World Cup winner Alex Hales will join the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League. Hales will replace Naveen ul Haq who is no longer available. 

Hales has played more than 400 games of T20 cricket and is one of just nine players to have scored more than 10,000 runs in the format. Hales is the highest English run scorer in the T20 format and has experience of playing in the CPL having won the tournament with the Barbados franchise in 2019. 

Hales will join the Tallawahs once his commitments in England are completed. 

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