Long Distance Cup one of a number of targets for Order Of St George

Wed 8 Aug 2018

Order Of St George could bid for back-to-back victories in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

The six-year-old was a narrow winner of the £500,000 Group Two last season and features among 56 entries for this year’s renewal.

Order Of St George was last seen finishing fourth behind the season’s star stayer Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the pair could renew rivalries on Qipco British Champions Day on October 20.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “It was always the plan to give him a break after Ascot, just as we did last year.

“We could have run in the Goodwood Cup, but he’ll now go for a prep for the Irish Leger and then try to win the Irish Leger for a third time. He’s fresh and well and in good form.

“After that, he could well repeat the same pattern as last year and go for the Arc on the way to Ascot, although we’d have to look at that nearer the time.

“Certainly, the Long Distance Cup does look like it could be a target for him again after he won it last season.”

O’Brien has 14 entries, including a number of exciting three-year-olds such as Hunting Horn and Kew Gardens, who took the Hampton Court Stakes and Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot respectively. The latter went on to take the Group One Grand Prix de Paris.

The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius has won the Yorkshire Cup, the Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup so far this season and will pick up a £1million bonus if he can add the Lonsdale Cup to his collection at York later this month.

Plenty of other familiar names are in the mix, including Jessica Harrington’s Torcedor.

He was touched off by Order Of St George in last year’s Long Distance Cup and has been narrowly beaten by Stradivarius at Ascot and Goodwood this summer.

Harrington said: “Torcedor is very well after Goodwood, he’s all raring to go again.

“He’s been back cantering and I’m very happy with him. I’m not sure which way we’ll go now, either to York for the Lonsdale Cup or for the Irish Leger at the Curragh, but I’ve got time to do both if I want.

“I’m just going to wait and see. If he gets through that, then we’ve got Ascot to think about.”

Ireland’s perennial champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has made 16 entries, including the likes of Renneti, Limini, Max Dynamite, Thomas Hobson and Wicklow Brave.

He said: “Some of the horses we have entered would need to find some improvement if they wanted to be taking part, but the entries were closing and I thought we ought to put everything in that might want to be going there.

“Most will be running over the next few weeks and that will help us sort things out, while some might be heading to Melbourne.

“I suppose Max Dynamite is one that stands out as a possible – he ran quite well behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup.

“Limini ran twice at Galway and I guess that, with hindsight, the second run came too soon for her as she was a bit disappointing, but the handicapper had forced our hand to some extent by putting her up 9lb.

“The plan is to stay on the Flat with her for the foreseeable future and although she is only rated 98 and would have to improve to be running in a race like the British Champion Long Distance Cup, I wouldn’t rule that out.”

Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee and Northumberland Plate winner Withhold are other notable inclusions.

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