Order Of St George - Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1)

Before he began his current tenure at Ballydoyle and changed the modern face of racing, Aidan O’Brien was transforming the careers of jumpers at Piltown, and it is down to that affinity with long-distance horses that has made him one of the most notable names in the story of the revival of Royal Ascot’s centrepiece, the Group One Gold Cup.

Run yesterday in honour of The Queen’s 90th birthday, the Gold Cup remains for many second to none as the apex of the week, and the place where, for a moment, history and legacy overtake the commercial interests which are so dominant in the current era.

It is largely down to Coolmore and Ballydoyle’s focus on the Gold Cup as a goal, that it has retrieved the mystique of its former days; in just ten years since Aidan O’Brien brought the half-brother to former Summerhill resident, Solskjaer, the magnificent Yeats, to record the first of his record-carving four victories in the event, that he has become the race’s leading trainer. With six races overall, he has achieved a remarkable feat in the light of the many attempts at it by some of the turf’s greatest names: in modern times, Francois Boutin celebrated three winning occasions with Sagaro between 1975 and 1977, Sir Henry Cecil achieved his own glory for four consecutive years with the brilliant pair Le Moss and Ardross, while the likes of Dick Hern, Barry Hills and Guy Howard were among those doubling up.

Unsurprisingly, for a stallion who might be as good as the world has known, in yesterday’s renewal of the Gold Cup, Galileo supplied the first and second past the post, Order Of St George and Mizzou, the former providing O’Brien with his seventh victory in scintillating style, humbling the competition in a matter of strides going through the two furlong poll, in the process wishing Her Majesty the sweetest of 90th birthdays.


Jiffy (AP Arrow)