Saturday 24 February 2018

Bondi on track for Melbourne as O'Brien plots Order Arc bid

Order Of St George (right) has to bounce back from his St Leger disappointment, Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Order Of St George (right) has to bounce back from his St Leger disappointment, Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Order Of St George, as expected, is likely to swerve the Melbourne Cup and will bolster a strong Aidan O'Brien-trained team in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week.

The brilliant stayer, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot this summer, suffered a shock defeat in the Irish Leger earlier this month, a reverse Aidan O'Brien said was "one of those things".

And the likelihood of Order Of St George missing Australia has played a part in Bondi Beach, bidding to give the stable its first winner in "the race that stops a nation", gambled into favourite with bookmakers.

Postponed is market leader at a best-quote 3/1 for the Arc but yesterday's news will encourage backers of Order Of St George, which is as short as 14/1, despite never having tried the Arc distance of a mile and a half before.


O'Brien said: "As is known, Order Of St George is in quarantine and we won't make a decision until late but we think he'll run in the Arc.

"The thing about him, Found and everyone else in the race is the draw, but I would prefer a bit of ease ideally for Order Of St George. We always thought he could be an Arc horse and, though it was unfortunate he was beaten at the Curragh, the front two were miles clear and he came out of the race well."

Bondi Beach has been popular for the Melbourne Cup on November 1, with Paddy Power's spokesman of that name saying that running plans and money had seen him go 14/1 favourite.

Read more: Doctor Geoff can provide right medicine for Lyons double

O'Brien confirmed: "Bondi Beach ran a lovely race on Champions Weekend and goes straight to the Melbourne Cup, where he ran well last year. This has been a long-term idea."

O'Brien could run at least one more in the Arc, with Found as low as 6/1 after an excellent second in the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

The champion trainer will attempt to win the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes for an incredible 16th time on Sunday at the Curragh, when the Tote's Pick Six pool - almost certain to be at least €1m - will again be up for grabs.

Among the 17 Beresford entries that stood their ground yesterday was Capri, one of ten Ballydoyle-trained possibles. The grey is second-favourite for next year's Epsom Derby.

Leading stayer Forgotten Rules is likely to make his seasonal debut in the Sycamore Lodge Loughbrown Stakes for Dermot Weld, who has flirted with the notion of hurdling with the son of Nayef.

Read more: 'Dear' jumps to task on chasing debut

Over in Perth today, Adrian Heskin will be hoping Kilbree Kid can give him a dream start in his new role as stable jockey to trainer Tom George in the Lord Mansfield Memorial Handicap Chase. The 24-year-old rider will team up with the Slad handler for the first time in the extended two-mile-seven-furlong event when getting the leg-up on the three-times course winner.

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that James Doyle will no longer be automatic first-choice jockey for Saeed Bin Suroor in what amounts to another significant change of Godolphin policy.

Irish Independent

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