Order Of St George bids for Saval Beg hat-trick en route to Ascot
Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes (Listed) | 1m6f, 4yo+ | ATR
Stradivarius staked his Ascot Gold Cup claims with a powerful performance in the Yorkshire Cup last week and now it is the turn of star stayer Order Of St George in the Saval Beg Stakes.
The 2016 Gold Cup champion lost his crown to Big Orange last year, but he produced a heroic effort inside the final furlong in trying to cling on to it in what was one of the most thrilling finishes to ever grace the Royal meeting.
Order Of St George has won this Listed contest for the last two years en route to Royal Ascot and once again Aidan O'Brien has pencilled in a trip to South Dublin as part of his preparation.
He returned a winner at 2-7 and 4-11 in the last two renewals and will be similarly skimpy odds to complete the hat-trick given that he has 18lb in hand of his rivals.
The only real concern is the quick ground but it is worth noting that he won this race two years ago on good to firm ground and his trainer is not too worried about the underfoot conditions.
O'Brien said: "We all know he handles soft ground but he's got some good form on good to firm ground too so I'm not overly concerned about the ground. The ground is always safe at Leopardstown so I have no worries on that front."
Order Of St George warmed up for this test with a facile success in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan last month and O'Brien reports him to have come out of that Group 3 success in great shape.
"He seems in good form at the moment and he has come out of his Navan race in good shape. The plan was always the same this year – to go to Navan, then to Leopardstown and on to Ascot for the Gold Cup – and everything has gone according to plan so far," O'Brien said.
One of Order Of St George's main rivals is the talented, but quirky, Renneti, whom Colin Keane rides for the first time.
Since winning the Group 3 Loughbrown Stakes at Naas last September, Renneti has refused to race over hurdles at Fairyhouse and trailed in last of seven behind Cliffs Of Moher in the Mooresbridge Stakes.
Keane said: "Renneti is a great ride to get and he's a very talented horse on his day. It just depends what sort of humour he's in it seems. Hopefully he'll be on a going day and he'll give Order Of St George something to think about."
Renneti is identically rated to Twilight Payment while the quintet is completed by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Detailed and Remarkable Lady from the Harry Rogers stable.
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