Thursday 12 December 2019

Order can limber up for Gold Cup tilt

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Richard Forristal

Last year's emphatic Irish St Leger victor Order Of St George returns to action at Leopardstown tonight ahead of a tilt at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Aidan O'Brien's classy colt thrashed some established stayers at the Curragh in the autumn, so anything less than a comfortable triumph on his return in this evening's Saval Beg Stakes would not bode well with just 13 days to the Gold Cup. On ratings, Order Of St George is between 21lbs and 44lbs clear of his five rivals in this mile-and-six-furlong Listed race, and a display befitting that superiority is to be expected under Donnacha O'Brien.

The father and son combination might also take the 12-furlong Listed race with Claudio Monteverdi.

Ballydoyle's elite team is also represented by The Major General and Lieutenant General, but Claudio Monteverdi looks a better and more progressive horse.

He ran well when fourth to So Mi Dar in the Derby trial at Epsom, and this step up in trip will be to his advantage, although there isn't much between a few of these on official figures.

Charles O'Brien's filly Santa Monica is top-rated on 100. Second to Beacon Rock at the Curragh, she might be a little flattered by an inflated figure.

Earlier, Dermot Weld's Propriano is fancied to justify the nap vote in the mile maiden. This doesn't look a strong race, but Propriano showed plenty when fifth to Cook Islands in a better contest at Navan in the autumn. He should come forward for that.

Over jumps at Tramore, Mags Mullins' Genesta is one of the more appealing options. She steps up in trip in the mares' hurdle following a staying-on effort in defeat at Punchestown.

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