Order restored as St George too good for rivals in Vintage Crop
Aidan O’Brien’s Gold Cup winner makes up for disappointment at Navan last year
Order Of St George got his season off to a successful start in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan yesterday.
The 2016 Gold Cup hero was turned over 12 months ago by Torcedor when sent off the 4-5 favourite, but made no mistake this time.
Having his first race since lifting the British Champions Long Distance Cup, the six-year-old was much shorter at 2-9 on this occasion, but there were few anxious moments for his supporters in the Group Three heat over a mile and three-quarters.
Lord Yeats, trained by Jedd O’Keeffe, set out to make it a true test and Paul Mulrennan upped the tempo when they turned for home. However, Ryan Moore was wise to the move and eased Order Of St George towards the middle of the course to make his challenge.
Leading at the furlong marker, Aidan O’Brien’s charge pulled away to score by five and a half lengths, to complete a double for trainer and jockey following the success of the So Perfect in the opening maiden.
O’Brien said “Hopefully he’ll go for the Saval Beg (at Leopardstown on May 25th) which is what we usually do and then on to Ascot.
“He finishes out very well when he gets into his tempo, and he gallops up the hill. Ryan said he was very relaxed and moved very well. They would be the two things that you would love to hear.
“We were looking forward to getting him started, he was well ready to start and will hopefully progress on to the next one. He was in a nice place.”
Paddy Power left Order Of St George unchanged at 7-2 for the Gold Cup, although RaceBets cut him to 5-2 favourite from 3-1.
The Broghie Man, meanwhile, hung on grimly to spring a surprise in the Listed Committed Stakes.
Top French jockey Gerald Mosse – having his first ride at the track – was at his strongest to get the Adrian Keatley-trained three-year-old home by a short head from the closing Speak In Colours.
Brick By Brick made the running until a furlong from home in the five-and-a-half-furlong affair, where The Broghie Man (10-1) made his decisive move to lift the prize. The two protagonists drew five lengths clear of Fleet Review in third.
Different League, a Royal Ascot winner last year when trained in France by Matthieu Palussiere, never got into a challenging position on his first start for Aidan O’Brien, despite being sent off the the 5-4 favourite, and trailed in fifth.
Keatley said of his winner: “It’s good to get that job done and hopefully we’ll head to Naas next for the Lacken. There is nothing really for him over five, so we’ll go to Naas next and see what happens.
So Perfect could be Royal Ascot-bound after getting up in the dying strides to make a winning debut in the Tara Sires Irish EBF Fillies Maiden.
The daughter of Scat Daddy had plenty to do at the furlong pole, but she responded well to Ryan Moore’s drive once getting a clear run on the outside to put her head in front on the line.
The 4-1 shot collared Mater Matuta by a short head, with Silver Service three-quarters of a length away in third.
O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with that for a first run. We were worried about the ground and experience, but she is obviously a very nice filly. She is a big, powerful filly. I’d say she is an Ascot filly and could run over five or six [furlongs]. She could run at Naas [in the Listed Juvenile Fillies Sprint over six furlongs on May 20th] for some more experience.”
Golden Spell (8-1) held the persistent challenge of Sorelle Delle Rose to claim the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Stakes Handicap.
Apprentice Denis Linehan, who claims 5lb, sent the Johnny Murtagh-trained winner into the lead well over a furlong out.
Sorelle Delle Rose closed the gap, but was a short head down at the line. Thiswaycadeaux came home in third place.