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Sunday 11 December 2016

George to be Order of the day at the Curragh

Order Of St George, with Donnacha O’Brien up, winning the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown in June. Pic: Sportsfile
Order Of St George, with Donnacha O’Brien up, winning the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown in June. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland's highest rated horse, Order Of St George, is on course for a return in the Palmerstown Irish St Leger on Sunday week.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained four-year-old eclipsed his rivals to win the race by 11 lengths last year and has subsquently gone on to win the Ascot Gold Cup and attract comparisons with the legendary stayer, Yeats, who won the Gold Cup on four occasions.

"He is in great order ahead of the Curragh," the champion trainer said. "Donnacha rode him in the Saval Beg and Ryan rode him in the Gold Cup and we were delighted with him in his start-back run at the Curragh last month.

"He has matured great this year and Seamus (Heffernan) who rides him in his work and Ben (Dalton) who rides him every day are both very happy with him. Everything is going very well so far and we are looking forward to the St Leger with him."

Order Of St George has won his last six and has certainly stamped his authority on the staying division in recent times.

"He was a big angular two-year-old and he was a bit more furnished last year and he is properly furnished this year. His mind is starting to relax, he is a horse with a lot of nervous energy but he's really enjoying it now, we think. He handles soft ground fairly well and goes on fast ground as well so he's an unusual type of horse, really."

Order Of St George is one of O'Brien's Emirates Melbourne Cup entries but part-owner in the colt, Lloyd Williams, all but ruled out the Irish St Leger winner heading to Australia this year, as it looks like he may well be handed top weight when the weights are revealed.

Other possible runners for the Emirates Melbourne Cup from Ireland are the Willie Mullins-trained duo of Clondaw Warrior and Wicklow Brave.

The champion jumps trainer told the Herald yesterday: "Both horses are well at the moment and we are considering the Curragh for both of them.

"I would imagine I will definitely run one if not both in the Irish St Leger and if we were to get on well there we would consider Melbourne then."

Ebor winner Heartbreak City will be the subject of some discussion between trainer Tony Martin and the enthusiastic Here For The Craic Syndicate this weekend.

Martin's charge is also among the Melbourne Cup entries.

"I'll have a chat with the lads who own over the weekend," Martin told the Herald.

"We are looking at Melbourne and it's on the agenda but we have a lot of different options for him and we'll know more next week after we chat about it."

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