Aidan O’Brien believes there is a “good chance” Magical will be retired following her narrow defeat in Hong Kong last weekend.
The brilliant mare looked set to start her broodmare career this year after rounding off her 2019 campaign with victory in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
However, she was brought back as five-year-old this season and it has proved a wise decision, with the daughter of Galileo claiming another three Group One wins to extend her top-level tally to seven.
She finished a close-up third in the Hong Kong Cup – and while O’Brien initially offered brief hope that she could return to the track in 2021, he now expects her retirement to be officially confirmed before the new year.
Speaking on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme, O’Brien said: “I suppose there’s a good chance that she won’t (stay in training).
“We were delighted to have her from last year. She’s back from Hong Kong and seems in good form.
“I suppose there’s every chance that she won’t come back, but the lads (owners) will decide next week what they want to do.
“She’s incredible really. What makes her unusual is she’s been running at the top level since she was two and she’s as sound as a bell.”
The undoubted heir to Magical’s crown as the top older filly at Ballydoyle is Love, who completed a Classic double with brilliant displays in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom earlier this year.
Having added the Yorkshire Oaks to her tally during the summer, she looked set for a mouthwatering clash with Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but was withdrawn due to the prevailing testing conditions in Paris.
O’Brien ultimately ended up having no runners in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, or any of the supporting races that weekend, due to fears over contaminated feed.
Of Love, O’Brien said: “She’s a very special filly. It’s easy to forget what she did in the Guineas and then what she did in the Oaks.
“She’s very uncomplicated and something to really look forward to for next year. She had a canter this morning, everyone is happy with her and she’s done very well physically.
“She had a little break after Arc weekend as she was trained for the Arc like there was no tomorrow. When you do that, they do need a little bit of a rest, so she got that and she’s just back cantering away slowly.”
Other three-year-olds rising four the trainer is looking forward to next season are Hong Kong Vase hero Mogul and Serpentine, who was the subject of much debate after winning the Derby at Epsom in June under an enterprising ride from Emmet McNamara.
“The late start to the season didn’t suit Mogul. We had planned on getting two runs in before the Derby, but obviously that wasn’t to be and everything was a little bit forced and a little bit rushed,” O’Brien added.
“He’s a big, powerful horse and the more racing he got the better he got – we did get him there in the end.
“Serpentine is a very relaxed horse who stays very well. He’s very uncomplicated and very balanced and a very well-bred horse – we did believe that it could happen (winning the Derby).
“He had to be a good horse to do what he did.”
O’Brien will also possess plenty of strength in depth in the three-year-old division, with Dewhurst one-two St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley, Battleground and the hugely exciting Derby favourite High Definition all proving their worth as juveniles.
O’Brien said: “We have some nice two-year-olds. Because the season was such a mess, the two-year-olds kind of got lost in the middle and we had to run some of them a little bit more than we wanted to – Wembley would be an example of that.
“Like every year there’s horses that are going to make good improvement and some might not make the improvement that we hope. It will be interesting to see what the spring will bring.”
Of High Definition, he added: “He was always very special. He’s a big, long, scopey horse with a great mind. The plan was always to give him two runs and he was seriously impressive in the Beresford Stakes – it was unbelievable.
“He’s always been a very exciting horse and the plan was always that he would be trained for the Derby next year. He’s had his two runs for education at the Curragh and would have learned a lot.
“It’s possible (he could run in the 2000 Guineas), but not definite. We’ll see how he trains in the spring and whether it’s the right thing to do or not. I don’t think he’d have any problem with it pace-wise as he’s a high cruiser who gets the trip really well.”