Gold Cup hero Order Of St George in cruise control at the Curragh

 Aug 23 2016

Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old took the Group Three contest 12 months ago before landing the Irish St Leger itself and was sent off at odds of 2-11 to repeat the dose following his impressive Gold Cup triumph at Royal Ascot.

Settled in the rear as Arya Tara blazed a trail, the favourite cruised into contention under Donnacha O'Brien early in the home straight and was pushed out for a length-and-a-half verdict over Twilight Payment, who emerged with plenty of credit.

O'Brien indicated it would be a similar plan to last year as regards the immediate target for the winner.

The winning trainer said: "I'm delighted with that - it was lovely. He was just ready to start back so I was a bit worried but he settled lovely and you'd have to be delighted.

"He'll come back here (Irish Leger) first and we'll take it a step at a time with him."

Hit The Bid left the form of his opening two efforts well behind to spring a 50-1 surprise in the Jimmy O'Neill Irish Racing Excellence Curragh Stakes.

Soundly beaten on both previous starts, the Darren Bunyan-trained outsider was always up with the pace in the Group Three sprint and worked his way into the lead a furlong out.

Leigh Roche was able to grab the rail and in the process box in Yulong Baobei, which left Mur Hiba as the main danger but Kevin Manning's mount could only close the gap to half a length at the line.

Bunyan said: "We thought this lad was very good from day one. His first two runs were disappointing but we knew what was wrong, he had a slight wind issue and we corrected that after the Marble Hill.

"Everything is ahead of him and we think he'll be a hell of a horse next year. That's as soft as he wants it. For a big horse he likes to flow along on good ground."

He added: "I put him in the Mill Reef at Newbury and anybody who had a look at the entries would have a fair idea what we thought of him. I'm delighted to win our first Group race.

"We'll see how he comes out of this and the ground will be a big factor. If he comes out of it well he could go for the Round Tower or could wait for the Mill Reef."

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