By Simon Jackson at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien is targeting back-to-back wins in the Irish St Leger with Order Of St George who overcame a rocky passage to secure an impressive victory in the Gold Cup at Ascot.
The Cup was this year renamed the ‘Gold Cup In Honour Of The Queen’s 90th Birthday’ and attracted 17 runners which was the largest field in recent years and resulted in a roughly-run race.
The son of Galileo travelled in the midfield for the bulk of the two and a half mile feature event of the Royal Meeting where Moore was forced to work hard as he attempted to improve the position of the four-year-old.
His efforts continued to be frustrated as the horses entered home straight, where he was ultimately forced to move to the outside of the field to make his challenge in an increasingly roughly-run contest.
Yet the 2015 Irish St Leger winner responded well to the jockey’s urgings and hit the front inside the last furlong to score by three lengths from second-placed Mizzou, with Sheikhzayedroad two and a quarter lengths back in third place.
The victory was the 39th winner at Royal Ascot for Moore and the 51st for trainer O’Brien, who was quick to applaud Moore’s tactics.
“Ryan gave him a great ride and was very cool on him,” O’Brien said. “It was a very rough race.”
“Ryan was very clever and didn’t panic on him. He put him asleep and despite it getting pretty rough, he wasn’t worried and pulled Order Of St George out in the home straight without using any gas. He had to be very cool to do what he did.
“The lads have done a great job to get the horse back here after he had a setback last year as we were a little worried that we wouldn’t get him back. At his last start, Donnacha [O’Brien, jockey], was very happy when he rode him in the Saval Beg at Leopardstown so we knew we had a chance.
“He was asleep during the race and I knew he was a seriously classy horse. When Ryan switched him out, he came up the middle and wasn’t waiting on anyone else, he just kept on coming. He is just a big Rolls Royce engine.
“He was the highest-rated older horse in Ireland last year. We knew he stayed and with these middle-distance horses with that kind of chance, you always feel they have a chance because of their quality. He won an Irish Leger in soft ground off a strong pace by 11 lengths and was going away. So if he wasn’t going to stay none of the horses were going to stay.
“We thought that we would give him a break now and then give him an Irish Leger prep before going for the Irish Leger. We would then look for something in the autumn and we would not rule out the Arc if there was suitable ground come Arc time.”
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