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HKIR: Magical backflip sees star Aidan O’Brien duo withdrawn from blockbuster day

It was touted as the strongest Hong Kong Cup in years but the race has been dealt a major blow

Aidan O’Brien-trained superstars Magical and Circus Maximus will not race in next month’s Hong Kong International Races.

Less than 24 hours after being announced as the main challenger to Japanese filly Almond Eye in a blockbuster Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m), the Post can reveal O’Brien has chosen to forge ahead with retirement plans for Magical.

She will instead see Coolmore’s prized sire No Nay Never.

O’Brien’s Group One-winning three-year-old Circus Maximus will not line up in the Group One Hong Kong Mile after a minor hiccup in his preparation.

Both horses were booked until as recently as Wednesday to make the plane trip from Ireland to Hong Kong as part of a five-strong team from Ballydoyle, but instead will stay put in Europe.

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