Curragh rematch on the cards for leading stayers


Big Orange and Order Of St George, first and second in the Ascot Gold Cup, are on track for a rematch in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh this weekend.

Trainers Michael Bell and Aidan O’Brien have signalled their intentions to run in the race, with the former waiting to see how the ground shapes up before making a firm commitment.

Big Orange will only run on good ground says Bell, who also has options in Britain for an autumn campaign with his popular six-year-old.

Big Orange failed to win the Goodwood Cup for a third successive year when finishing behind Stradivarius on ground that had been softened by persistent rain. He finished a tired horse that day and his trainer is now very keen to give him his optimum conditions going forward.

“He’s locked and loaded, as Donald Trump says,” said Bell. “He worked very well this morning and we’re keen to go, provided the ground is okay for him.”

“I’ve never seen him so tired as after the Goodwood race, but he bounced back very quickly and has been fine.”

“If he doesn’t run in the Irish St Leger there are plenty of alternatives. He could run in the Doncaster Cup and then there’s the Cadran and the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, but we’ll be looking for the better ground for him, wherever that is.”

Big Orange is 4/1 to win the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on British Champions Day next month. Order Of St George, meanwhile, can be backed at 5/2 for that race and his trainer remains keen on a run at the Curragh this weekend, where the Ballydoyle charge would attempt to go one better than last year’s second behind Wicklow Brave in the Irish Leger.

Order Of St George won an Irish St Leger Trial last month for the third year running and is in good shape, says his trainer.

“Obviously, he hasn’t done much since winning at the Curragh the last day but he seems in good form,” said O’Brien.

“He had a little break after Ascot and we were delighted with how well he won at the Curragh on his first run back. We’re hoping he’ll run in the Irish St Leger now and we’re happy with him.”

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