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Sunday 4 December 2016

By George! He can win

Jennies Jewel (l), ridden by Ronan Whelan, wins the Ascot Stakes Picture: PA
Jennies Jewel (l), ridden by Ronan Whelan, wins the Ascot Stakes Picture: PA

Order Of St George will attempt to cement his place as Ireland's highest rated Flat horse when lining up in the Ascot Gold Cup tomorrow afternoon.

The emphatic Irish St Leger winner of last season will be stepping up to one of the most prestigious races on the calendar which his trainer Aidan O'Brien has won six times in 10 years, four with the legendary Yeats and also with Leading Light and Fame And Glory.

As only a four-year-old, Order Of St George could well develop into a legend of this division, just like Yeats, because time is certainly on his side and anything he has shown us so far has been stacked with class.

A massive field of 17 will go to post for the Ascot Gold Cup and it is no harm for favourite backers that he has won on softer ground as it looks like the track this week is going to require a bit of stamina over this marathon trip.

Emirates Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite will need to be putting in a better performance than his seasonal debut at Sandown and is likely to do so but it is hard to suggest he'll overturn the favourite.

One at a bigger price is Flying Officer for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. A winner of the Long Distance Cup at the track last season on easy conditions, Flying Officer will appreciate the surface more than most and while that might not be good enough to beat Order Of St George, 12/1 represents good value each-way.

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the English, Irish and France Guineas winners at Royal Ascot in 20 years saw the English winner, Galileo Gold, come out on top.

Ridden prominently by Dettori, the first move was made by Ascot's leading rider and that seemed to be a big factor as Galileo Gold led home The Gurkha and reversed the form with Kevin Prendergast's Awtaad who was back in third.

The opening day of Royal Ascot also produced a fairytale outcome for Kildare-trainer Jarlath Fahey who won the the Ascot Stakes with the nine-year-old Jennies Jewel under Ronan Whelan.

Sent off a 6/1 shot for the 2m4f handicap, the winner made all under a canny ride by Whelan and held off the late challenge of Qewy by just a neck to spark memorable scenes for the Monastervin outfit.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien closed in on an incredible tally of 50 Royal Ascot winners as Caravaggio landed the hotly contested Group Two Coventry Stakes.

Stepping up to six-furlongs for the first time after winning twice over the minimum trip, Caravaggio didn't have the most straightforward of passages as Ryan Moore switched the colt to try and get closer to the pace as the field split up, but despite concerns about the ground Caravaggio proved himself as the best two-year-old we've seen so far this season and is as short as just 4/1 for next year's 2,000 Guineas with most bookmaker firms.

3cronin's choice: 2.30 Silver Lane 3.05 Hawkbill 3.40 Architecture 4.20 Order Of St George 5.00 Mustashry 5.35 Platitude

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