Order of St George wins Irish St Leger at The Curragh
Order Of St George won Sunday’s big race on day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at The Curragh by running away with the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger.
The Galileo colt was declared for both the weekend's British and Irish Classics but trainer Aidan O'Brien, who won a controversial renewal of the Ladbrokes St Leger with Bondi Beach, withdraw Order Of St George from the British version at Doncaster because of the prospect of more suitable ground in Ireland.
And that moved paid off as Joseph O'Brien was content to have Order Of St George at the rear of field as Good Tradition made the running in the early stages from last year's winner Brown Panther.
However, the latter was pulled up at around halfway mark, leaving Dermot Weld's Forgotten Rules, stablemate of Good Tradition, to track the leader.
Once in the straight, the race changed complexion and race favourite Order Of St George swept into the lead two furlongs out and sealed the issue in a matter of strides.
He went on to win unchallenged by 11 lengths from the Brian Meehan-trained Agent Murphy, with Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave third.
However, the result was tempered by the fate of Brown Panther. The Tom Dascombe-trained seven-year-old, who was bred and part-owned by former footballer Michael Owen, was bidding to repeat his victory of 12 months ago.
However he was suddenly pulled up by jockey Richard Kingscote when in second place at around the halfway point having suffered a broken hind leg and after examination was sadly put down.
Air Force Blue gave his trainer Aidan O'Brien a tenth win in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes when breezing to victory under Joseph O'Brien.
Joseph O'Brien had given last year's National Stakes winner Gleneagles an easy gallop after racing at Leopardstown on Saturday and it was a similar story on this occasion as Air Force Blue loomed up on the bridle and sauntered to an comfortable win.
O'Brien looked to settle Air Force Blue at the back of the field as stablemate Painted Cliffs made the running, but it was clear the favourite was going too well for his rivals and he smoothly moved into a challenging position with a couple of furlongs remaining.
The tough Herald The Dawn had taken over in the lead but he was a sitting duck for Air Force Blue, who was not asked for his effort on softer than ideal ground until absolutely necessary. When the question came though the response was quick and deadly, settling the race in a matter of strides.
Such was the impressive nature of the performance, the War Front colt is now heavily fancied as a favourite for next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas.
In the Moyglare Stakes, Minding led home an Aidan O'Brien 1-2-3 with a hard-fought victory over favourite Ballydoyle with Alice Springs back in third.
Ballydoyle was sent straight into the lead by Joseph O'Brien, and as the furlong pole approached the daughter of Galileo appeared to have fought off her nine rivals.
However, her stride began to shorten and she was overhauled by a battling Minding under Seamie Heffernan.
Alice Springs made good late headway to fill a place after missing the break, whilst second favourite Tanaza, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Dermot Weld, was fourth.
In the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes Sole Power overcame concerns about the ground to earn his 12th career success.
The evergreen eight-year-old, the pride of Eddie Lynam's stable, was produced at the right time by Chris Hayes, who was riding him for the first time in public to add this Group Two to his incredible record that includes five Group Ones.
After tracking Toscanini, Hayes angled co-favourite Sole Power out to take a decisive lead in the final furlong to win for the first time on Irish soil since Dundalk in April 2010.
Maarek finished with a flourish but was a head behind at the line, whilst Take Cover showed his usual blistering early speed and kept on well for third.