Order Of St George wins Irish St Leger at the Curragh

Clean sweep for Aidan O’Brien’s contingent in Stud Stakes - a win too in National Stakes

Air Force Blue ridden by Joseph O’Brien on the way to winning the Goffs Vincent O`Brien National Stakes during day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Curragh Racecourse. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Air Force Blue ridden by Joseph O’Brien on the way to winning the Goffs Vincent O`Brien National Stakes during day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Curragh Racecourse. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

 

Order Of St George rewarded connections for being switched from Doncaster by running away with the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

The Galileo colt was declared for both Classics but trainer Aidan O’Brien, who won a controversial renewal of the Ladbrokes St Leger with Bondi Beach, withdraw Order Of St George from the British version because of the prospect of more suitable ground in Ireland.

Joseph O’Brien was content to have Order Of St George at the rear of field as Good Tradition made the running in the early stages from last year’s winner Brown Panther.

However, the latter was pulled up at around halfway mark, leaving Dermot Weld’s Forgotten Rules, stablemate of Good Tradition, to track the leader.

Once in the straight, the race changed complexion and the well-backed Order Of St George (5-4 favourite) swept into the lead two furlongs out and sealed the issue in a matter of strides.

He went on to win unchallenged by 11 lengths from the Brian Meehan-trained Agent Murphy, with Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave third.

Air Force Blue had earlier won Aidan O’Brien a 10th triumph in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes with an authoritative display in the seven-furlong Group One for two-year-olds .

O’Brien’s other runner Painted Cliffs set the pace from Richard Fahey’s Birchwood with Air Force Blue tucked away under Joseph O’Brien.

Birchwood made his bid for glory two furlongs out and was immediately joined by Herald The Dawn, but Air Force Blue (10-11 favourite) cruised up on the outside.

In command a furlong out, the son of War Front skipped clear to win as he liked from Herald The Dawn and give the trainer a quick Group One double following the success of Minding in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Sole Power overcame concerns about the ground to win for the first time on Irish soil since Dundalk in April 2010 and land his 12th career success in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.

The evergreen eight-year-old, the pride of Eddie Lynam’s stable, was produced at the right time by Chris Hayes, who was riding him for the first time in public to add this Group Two to his incredible record that includes five Group Ones.

Minding overturned her highly-regarded and better fancied Aidan O’Brien stablemate Ballydoyle to grab Group One glory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Joseph O’Brien tried to make all the running over the seven furlongs and looked like doing so until Minding (15-2) ranged up alongside to lead in the final half-furlong.

Minding galloped on strongly for Seamie Heffernan as she got revenge on 5-4 favourite Ballydoyle who had beaten her two lengths in the Debutante Stakes over the course and distance three weeks ago.

Alice Springs (20-1) was third to complete a clean sweep for the O’Brien contingent.

Ribbons bounced back from a disappointing run at Deauville in great style to take the Group Two Moyglare ‘Jewels’ Blandford Stakes.

Settled in the rear by Tom Queally, James Fanshawe’s talented five-year-old mare made smooth progress in the straight after Outstanding had taken the field along.

Brushing Tapestry aside to lead a furlong out, Ribbons (3-1) was pressed hard by Aidan O’Brien’s charge close home but kept on gamely to score by half a length to make amends for her defeat in the Group One Prix Jean Romanet. Bocca Baciata was third.

“The thing that was most important was that myself and James decided to get her relaxed in the early part of the race so she would have more in the straight and she settled well,” said Queally of the Elite Racing Club-owned winner.

Richard Fahey’s fears about the draw proved unfounded as George Bowen scooped the first prize of €90,000 in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap.

The North Yorkshire handler felt stall seven might compromise the three-year-old’s chances, but Jamie Spencer was able to get across towards the favoured near side with little trouble.

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