Friday 23 February 2018

O'Brien eyes trial hat-trick for 'St George'

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Talented Ballydoyle stayer Order Of St George is set to bid for a hat-trick in the Comer Group Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh on Saturday.

Aidan O'Brien's charge has won the mile-and-three-quarter Group Three for the last two seasons and bids for the hat-trick after going down by just a short head to Big Orange in his defence of his Gold Cup crown at Royal Ascot.

"The Irish St Leger Trial on Saturday is the race we are looking at for Order Of St George at the moment," said O'Brien.

"He's back after a break and he wouldn't mind it too much if the ground even got a bit on the slow side."

O'Brien also has Air Supremacy, Finn McCool, Galilean, The Anvil and Key To My Heart in a 22-strong entry.

Read more: 'Poli' woe and 'Classic' blow for O'Leary jumping team

Wicklow Brave, which overturned Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger last year, is among eight possibles from the Willie Mullins stable along with Aussie Reigns, Clondaw Warrior, Ivan Grozny, Laws Of Spin, Max Dynamite, Renneti and Thomas Hobson.

The four English entries are Mick Channon's Elidor, the Iain Jardine-trained Nakeeta, Hughie Morrison's Nearly Caught and St Michel from Mark Prescott's yard.

Trainer Matthieu Palussiere expects his Royal Ascot heroine Different League to raise her game when putting her unbeaten record on the line in the Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday.

After winning her first two starts in the French provinces, the daughter of Dabirsim was a 20/1 shot for the Albany Stakes in June and kept her unbeaten record intact with a narrow victory.

The form is solid, with the O'Brien-trained pair of Actress and Clemmie, which finished sixth and seventh respectively, both striking at Pattern level since.

Different League takes on colts at Group One level this weekend, but Palussiere is excited by the challenge.

"We are all set, the filly is very well and it's exciting. We have our fingers crossed for Sunday," he said.

"Her preparation has been perfect. She has to take on colts, but really there are not many other options."

Meanwhile, Newmarket-based rider Robert Havlin has failed to persuade the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) not to reciprocate the six-month ban given to him by France Galop for failing a drugs test.

In February, the French authority said that the Scottish native had returned a positive sample when riding at Saint-Cloud last October and that it would "request the reciprocation'' of the imposed sanction by its counterpart in Britain.

It is a major blow to Havlin, who strenuously refuted the findings and twice appealed in vain to the French authorities.

Irish Independent

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