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Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Aidan O'Brien hails 'incredible' Order Of St George as star is retired

Order Of St George: landed three Group 1s for trainer Aidan O'Brien
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Order Of St George has been retired, with Aidan O'Brien hailing the 2016 Gold Cup winner "an incredible stayer who had the class to be competitive in an Arc".

The six-year-old had been in contention to bid for a third Irish St Leger victory at the Curragh on Sunday, but O'Brien said he did not want to be greedy and decided the best option was to call time on the three-time Group 1 winner's career. 

The trainer said: "We've decided to retire Order Of St George. We did not want to be greedy and risk him on Sunday. It's nothing serious, just age has caught up with him, and we thought it was the right thing to do for the horse."

Watch Order Of St George win the 2016 Ascot Gold Cup

He added: "Order Of St George was an incredible horse. He was a big, strong animal who was always very clean-winded. He was an incredible stayer but had the class to be competitive in an Arc. 

"He handled soft ground, heavy ground, good ground and quick ground. He was versatile both in terms of ground and trip. He won a lot of races and was probably a little unlucky to be pipped in one or two others as well."

Order Of St George, who is still an entire and for whom a stud career awaits, won 13 of his 25 starts for earnings of nearly £2 million, with his Irish St Leger victories in 2015 and 2017 coming by a combined total of 20 lengths.

He suffered a narrow defeat to a Frankie Dettori-inspired Wicklow Brave in the 2016 Irish St Leger, while he finished third and fourth in the last two Arcs at Chantilly behind stablemate Found and Enable.

Latrobe Curragh-bound

Order Of St George's absence from Sunday's Comer Group International Irish St Leger means Joseph O'Brien is likely to head for the Curragh, rather than Doncaster, with Irish Derby winner Latrobe, who was seventh in the Juddmonte International last month.

The trainer said: "Looking at the two races at the moment it looks like the Irish St Leger might be the easier, so I'd say that's where we'll go. I don't think the trip will be a problem and he's been in great form since York." 

Latrobe: the Irish Derby hero is set to run in the Irish St Leger on Sunday
Only ten remain in the Irish St Leger after Tuesday's forfeit stage, and from those Aidan O'Brien is set to send Kew Gardens, Southern France, The Pentagon and Nelson to Doncaster for the William Hill St Leger.

Irish St Leger card, form and betting

"Everything is good with Kew Gardens and all roads lead to Doncaster," said the trainer. "I've been very happy with him since York [where he ran third in the Great Voltigeur].

"I'd say that Southern France, The Pentagon and Nelson could all join him at Doncaster. 

"Idaho and Flag Of Honour would be the two we have in mind at the moment for the Irish St Leger." 

The real Saxon is ready to stand up 

The Ballydoyle trainer believes the real Saxon Warrior will stand up in Saturday's Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and reports the brilliant 2,000 Guineas winner in rude health for his rematch with Roaring Lion, who beat him at York last time and previously at Sandown. 

Saxon Warrior (left) and Roaring Lion are set to renew rivalry on Saturday
"We're very happy with the way Saxon Warrior came out of York," he said. "He really was so sick after Sandown and we had to cuddle him to get him back.

"We were delighted with how he performed at York and we'd like to think you'll see a different horse at Leopardstown. I'm looking forward to the race."

Irish Champion Stakes card, form and betting

Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion are the standout names among the ten remaining in the Irish Champion, although the Pascal Bary-trained Study Of Man could prove a tough opponent.

Blue Point out

Royal Ascot winner Blue Point has been ruled out of Sunday's Derrinstown Stud Flying Five at the Curragh due to a dirty scope, with Havana Grey promoted to favourite. 

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It's nothing serious, just age has caught up with him, and we thought it was the right thing to do for the horse
E.W. Terms
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