Champions Series Stars To Stud: Order Of St George
28 Jan 2019
In the last of our series, we reflect on the achievements of the 2016 Gold Cup winner.
Order Of St George wins the Gold Cup in 2016. Picture: Mark Cranham-focusonracing.com
Races: 25. Wins 13. Champions Series Wins: 2. Prize money: £ £1,986,324
Order Of St George was firmly established as one of the best stayers around until his retirement was announced in the autumn of 2018.
He was no one-trick pony, though, and also twice made the frame in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The highlight of his 13 career wins was when landing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016 and he was beaten just a short head by Big Orange in a memorable renewal when defending his crown 12 months later.
His final run was when a below-par fourth to Stradivarius in the 2018 running.
The son of Galileo also gained a dour victory in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot in 2017, not to mention two Irish St Legers; the first by 11 lengths
Clearly, he was blessed with plenty of stamina but he was not short of speed – finishing third in the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, when his trainer Aidan O’Brien famously saddled the first three home, and fourth in the 2018 edition.
There was the odd blip along the way, including when he suffered a shock defeat, at 1-7, when defending his Irish St Leger crown.
He showed that to be all wrong when dropped back in trip for the Arc – running a blinder to finish third behind stablemates Found and Highland Reel.
Order Of St George was possibly still feeling the effects of that effort when only fourth in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.
In 2017 came that agonising defeat at Royal Ascot, before a second runaway win in the Irish St Leger, a fourth in the Arc and his game success on Champions Day at Ascot.
Refreshed by his winter break, Order Of St George was not extended to make the most of straightforward tasks on his first two starts in 2018 but his usual spark was missing when he contested the Gold Cup for a third time and finished fourth.
He was bred by Paget Bloodstock in Ireland and changed hands for $550,000 as a yearling at Keeneland.
He raced initially for Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier, with Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams buying in shortly before he started his 2016 season.
Order Of St George had at least 8lb in hand of his rivals going into the Gold Cup according to the handicapper but his stamina was not assured plus the ground was soft and he had 16 rivals to overcome.
The number of runners meant space was at a premium and Ryan Moore, regular rider of Order Of St George, calculated he had to ride “four different races” in what was a rough renewal.
However, his class carried him through and it was a case of the further the better.
Hitting the front a furlong out, the 10/11 favourite kept on strongly to beat Mizzou by three lengths with Sheikhzayedroad another two and a quarter lengths back in third.
WHAT THEY SAID:
“He has had a lot of racing and we didn’t want to take any chances with him. He has a lot of miles on his body and was getting a bit older, and that was the reason really.
“He was a great horse. He had a lot of class, handled all kinds of ground and all kinds of trip. He’s a big, clear-winded horse and a big, good moving, scopey horse.”
Aidan O’Brien when revealing Order Of St George had run his final race
“He never stops. In any race he’s ever run in, he always finishes them. He’s never, ever stopping. You saw him in the Gold Cup and the Irish Leger – sometimes the line comes too quick, but he doesn’t stop. He’s tough and he’s hard.”
O’Brien after victory on QIPCO British Champions Day
WHERE HE WILL STAND:
He has joined Coolmore’s National Hunt roster and will stand at Castlehyde. His covering fee will be €6,500
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM HIS OFFSPRING?:
Order Of St George is the highest-rated horse since another Aidan O’Brien-trained stayer, Fame And Glory, to retire straight to National Hunt stud.
His mix of speed and stamina, not to mention size and scope, make him an intriguing proposition, although Galileo, his record-breaking sire, is not renowned for offspring who thrive over jumps.
The best of his progeny over obstacles have been Supasundae and Celestial Halo.
His covering fee of €6,500 is €1,500 more than that of Yeats, the record-breaking four-time Gold Cup winner who is still going strong at 18. His jumps’ offspring include Shattered Love, an impressive winner at the Cheltenham Festival last season and a Magners Gold Cup.
Let’s hope Order Of St George enjoys better fortune that Fame And Glory, who died at the age of 11.
MORE CHAMPIONS SERIES STARS TO STUD
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