O’Brien chas­ing fifth Ir­ish St. Leger

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Daily Racing Form - By Marcus Hersh

Or­der of St. Ge­orge, the best stay­ing horse in Europe dur­ing 2016 and 2017, was re­tired by trainer Ai­dan O’Brien ear­lier this week. Sixyear-old Or­der of St. Ge­orge had his com­ing-out party as a 3-year-old in the 2015 Ir­ish St. Leger and won it again last year, but even ab­sent his for­mer stay­ing star, O’Brien might be in line to win the race a fifth time.

Three-year-old Flag of Hon­our is 2 for 2 since be­ing stretched to the St. Leger’s 1 3/4-mile dis­tance. He gets eight pounds from his older ri­vals Sun­day and is the mild an­tepost fa­vorite to beat fel­low 3-year-old La­trobe in one of four Group 1 races on The Cur­ragh card.

La­trobe, trained by Joseph O’Brien, beat only one horse in the Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional on Aug. 22 at York but re­turns to the course where he won the Group 1 Ir­ish Derby on June 30. La­trobe, un­like Flag of Hon­our, has yet to be tested over a true stay­ing trip but ap­pears to be the type of horse to go far­ther than 1 1/2 miles.

Two of the ear­lier Group 1’s on the card are Breed­ers’ Cup Chal­lenge races – the Moyglare Stud for 2-year-old fil­lies of­fers to the win­ner au­to­matic fees-paid en­try into the BC Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf plus travel ex­penses to Churchill Downs this fall, while the Fly­ing Five Stakes is linked to the BC Turf Sprint.

Ai­dan O’Brien has trained the Moyglare Stud win­ner eight of the last 18 years and has three of the 10 fil­lies en­tered Sun­day in this sev­en­fur­long race. Her­mosa, a long­shot, fin­ished sixth last out in the Group 3 Debu­tante Stakes over seven fur­longs at The Cur­ragh, a race in which Zag­i­tova fin­ished third by 2 3/4 lengths af­ter set­ting the pace as the fa­vorite. Ryan Moore rides Zag­i­tova back, while Don­nacha O’Brien has a re­turn call on Just Won­der­ful, a two-time Cur­ragh win­ner com­ing off a last-to-first vic­tory in the Group 3 Flame of Tara Ir­ish EBF Stakes over one mile.

Skit­ter Skat­ter, who won the Debu­tante, and Main Edi­tion, win­ner of the Al­bany at Royal As­cot and the Group 3 Sol­era last out over seven fur­longs at New­mar­ket, also are part of an evenly matched group.

None of the top Euro­pean sprint­ers are in the five­fur­long Fly­ing Five, which has Havana Grey as an early fa­vorite. A de­cent fifth of 15 last out in the Group 1 Nun­thorpe Stakes in Eng­land, Havana Grey’s sup­port is based in no small part on his course­and-dis­tance win July 22 in the Group 2 Sap­phire Stakes. O’Brien will try Sioux Na­tion, who was eighth in the Nun­thorpe and has not made great progress since an en­cour­ag­ing 2-year-old cam­paign.

The card’s fourth Group 1, the Na­tional Stakes for 2-year-olds, has no Breed­ers’ Cup Chal­lenge con­nec­tions but of­ten yields im­por­tant win­ners. Heav­ily fa­vored in this edi­tion is Godol­phin’s Quorto, a open-lengths win­ner of his first two starts, the last of which was the Group 2 Su­perla­tive Stakes at New­mar­ket.

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