Irish St Leger preview: Order Of St George in top trim for Classic test

Sun 10 Sep 2017

By staff

Aidan O'Brien can find no negatives ahead of Order Of St George's third appearance in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Sunday.

An 11-length winner of the race two years ago, he was turned over at prohibitive odds last term by Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave.

This season, Order Of St George was beaten a short head by Big Orange in the Ascot Gold Cup but after winning the trial for this race impressively and with no Big Orange in opposition, he is strongly fancied again.

O'Brien said: "He's good and I'm happy with him. He was obviously only at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago.

"He's in good form and he handled the ease in the ground well last time. We're very happy with him, he had a break after the trial. We were delighted with him at the Curragh and we've been delighted with him since.

Wicklow Brave is back again and while he did add a Grade One win over hurdles at the Punchestown Festival to enter an elite club, he is without a subsequent Flat success. 

Mullins said: "Frankie Dettori rode him last year, it was a fantastic day and he gave him a great ride. We were probably a little lucky but the lucky ones count.

"This year it looks like he's only running for place money. It's going to be one of the biggest races of the festival."

It is far from a cakewalk for Order Of St George, though, with Sir Michael Stoute fielding Dartmouth over what might be his best trip.

Another not to be ruled out is Jessica Harrington's Torcedor, who beat the favourite at Navan in April and finished fifth in the Gold Cup .

Jockey Colm O'Donoghue said: "I don't think he didn't stay at Ascot and it's a race Mrs Harrington is keen to go back again for next year.

"In saying that, he's got plenty of pace for a stayer, too, and was winning over this trip earlier in the season so one-mile-six isn't a problem.

"This race has been the plan since Ascot. He'd made giant strides earlier in the season, coming a long way in a short time, so Mrs Harrington was keen to give him a break with this in mind.

"He ran a gallant race at Ascot but he's had a good break and is fresh and ready to go again."

Jedd O'Keeffe saddles his first Group One runner with Lord Yeats, who was a Listed winner at Newmarket earlier in the season.

"This trip and soft ground is what we think he wants," said the North Yorkshire handler. Things didn't go to plan in the Ebor. The ground was lively enough and he had a lot of weight for a race like that.

"This race has been the plan all year. He's got sporting owners so why not give it a go? To be involved in races like this, taking on the likes of Aidan O'Brien, the Queen, Godolphin and the rest, is why we get involved in racing.

"He'll be our first Group One runner and if we can pick up some place money, we'll be delighted."

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