Ballydoyle's ace set to restore 'Order'
Leopardstown patrons are in for a treat tonight as brilliant stayer Order Of St George bids to prove his Ascot Gold Cup credentials in the Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes.
Last year's Royal Ascot winner is generally 15/8 to do a repeat on June 22, though he was turned over on his seasonal return at Navan. Aidan O'Brien has a quite incredible record in the Gold Cup and, while all roads lead there, the son of Galileo - which had the class to place in last year's Arc - should be able to get the better of Twilight Payment this evening.
Flat offerings at Leopardstown almost never disappoint and this is another good fixture. While he is known as a jumps trainer, Tony Martin might actually be more talented with Flat horses, and in Prince Charmin' he looks to have a nicely treated steed in the apprentices' handicap.
One of note at a bigger price is Khabaray, which has a lovely low draw in the Breast Cancer Ireland Handicap. The top weight was a shade disappointing at Dundalk last time but remains of note and should appreciate coming through horses in a big field under Billy Lee.
Another top weight is put forward in the nightcap, The Tulip stepping up in yardage for Eddie Lynam after a pleasing run at Navan, while his good friend Ger Lyons' Circling Moon may improve on some relatively uninspiring maiden form in the mile-and-a-half handicap.
Racing commences with the juvenile maiden and Lyons' Camelback is solid after a fine course debut - though note that Ryan Moore rides Rostropovich, a son of Frankel.
John Oxx can take the Cliff At Lyons Maiden with Nigg Bay, which may appreciate the nice ground now.
Racing also takes place at The Maze venue of Down Royal, where Station Closed is fancied to record another victory in Northern Ireland. A Downpatrick winner last week, she seems to have turned a corner yet is still only rated 84 and has the assistance of Davy Russell.
Gordon Elliott trains this one and also Cadeau Du Bresil, which was pulled up when last seen. However, the five-year-old is fairer judged on some solid runs previously and the Barclay 20th Anniversary Rated Novice Steeplechase is hardly strong.
Elliott and Russell may record a treble, since Cecil Corbett has found a poor contest in the shape of the O2 Handicap Steeplechase, while the Youghal rider also has big claims in the first. He teams up with Henry de Bromhead, who makes the long journey to Lisburn with recent course fourth Probing.