In the 30 races scheduled to be held during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in England later this month, it could be hard to find a heavier favorite that Order of St. George in the 2 1/2-mile Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I) on June 16th. With 11 days remaining before the race, the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Galileo is listed as the favorite at less than 2-1 with all of the major British bookmakers, thanks in part to an impressive victory in the Saval Beg Stakes on June 3rd at Leopardstown.
Order of St. George was among the best long-distance runners in Europe last year, compiling a record of three wins and one second in races at 1 5/8th miles or longer. His most impressive performance came in the 1 3/4-mile Irish St. Leger (Ire-I), in which he crushed a talented field of older horses by 11 lengths in a spectacular effort.
The 1 3/4-mile Saval Beg Stakes marked Order of St. George’s first race of 2016, and after a slightly slow start, the colt settled into fourth place early on under jockey Donnacha O’Brien while eventual runner-up Fact or Folklore carved out the pace. Order of St. George remaining in fourth for most of the race, but entering the homestretch, he moved up strongly to challenge for the lead and took command inside the final furlong to win going away by 4 1/2 lengths in the time of 3:00.99 seconds.
The impressive manner in which Order of St. George finished bodes well for his chances in the Ascot Gold Cup, which will mark his first start beyond 1 3/4 miles. He has now won four straight races, and a defeat in the Ascot Gold Cup would mark a significant upset. The second choice in the early Ascot Gold Cup wagering is Order of St. George’s stablemate Bondi Beach, runner-up in the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I) and the last horse to defeat Order of St. George.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 3, 2016
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