Sunday 21 January 2018

Heffernan savouring the opportunity to reunite with Order Of St George

Jockey Seamie Heffernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Jockey Seamie Heffernan. Photo: Sportsfile

Ashley Iveson

Seamie Heffernan is relishing the chance to partner Gold Cup hero Order Of St George on his seasonal reappearance in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan today.

Ryan Moore steered Aidan O'Brien's latest star stayer to big-race glory at Royal Ascot last summer, while Frankie Dettori was on board when he finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Heffernan has not ridden the five-year-old in a race since he landed the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh in August 2015, but the pair will be reunited in the Group Three.

"He's a top-class horse and I'm looking forward to riding him," said the jockey. "It's a good race, but it's a nice place to start for him and it will be good to get him going again. I'm sure the trip away will bring him on, but he seems in good nick at home."

Order Of St George must concede weight to each of his seven rivals in the one-mile-six-furlong event. Dermot Weld, trainer of the great Vintage Crop, relies upon Forgotten Rules. The seven-year-old won this prize in 2015, but has been largely disappointing since finishing third in that year's Gold Cup. Jockey Pat Smullen is hoping the application of blinkers will help Forgotten Rules bounce back to form.

He said: "I was a shade disappointed with him in Leopardstown the last day and I'm hoping the ground doesn't dry out too much. He had an injury after the Gold Cup a couple of years ago and probably isn't the same horse now as he was before that. Hopefully, the blinkers might just sharpen him up a little bit. He seems in good form and hopefully he'll run well, but with Order Of St George in the race, it looks very difficult."

Torcedor, formerly trained by the now-retired David Wachman, made an impressive debut for Jessica Harrington in a conditions race at Leopardstown at the start of the month. The five-year-old had Forgotten Rules (third) and the reopposing Twilight Payment (second) in behind that day and bids to confirm the form.

The latter is, though, expected to improve for the likelihood of faster conditions. Trainer Jim Bolger told www.godolphin.com: "Twilight Payment is very well. He ran a good race last time out at Leopardstown on ground that wouldn't have suited him that well. We are expecting an improvement with better ground on Sunday."

Lustrous Light, Dew Line, Morga and Red Stars complete the line-up.

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