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St George has got the class to strike Gold

By Anita Chambers

Order Of St George suffered heartache in the final strides of last year's Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, but he can regain his crown on day three of the feature meeting.

Aidan O'Brien's six-year-old found Big Orange a short head too good in the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece and had to hand over the title he had claimed so impressively the previous year following a thrilling battle.

Order Of St George subsequently put that rival to the sword when winning on Champions Day, with the interim period filled by victories in the Irish St Leger Trial and Classic itself, as well as a creditable fourth when dropped back to 12 furlongs in the Arc.

That said, Order Of St George was clearly not at his very best on that final day at Ascot but seemed suitably refreshed when hosing up in the Vintage Crop Stakes on his return, before following a familiar path in going on to win the Saval Beg.

He did not beat much on either occasion, but he won with any amount in hand and those two runs should have put him spot-on.

The staying division appears to have some serious strength in depth this term and, while the likes of Stradivarius and Vazirabad pose a threat, it is hard to side against a runner who has, quite literally, been there and done it.

Wild Illusion has similarly clear-cut claims in the Ribblesdale Stakes after finding only Forever Together too good in the Oaks at Epsom.

She did not have sufficient pace to grab the favoured rail that day and merely kept on for second, but it was a fine run nevertheless.

Add to the equation her previous fourth in the 1000 Guineas and Wild Illusion would certainly be a worthy favourite.

Vintage Brut can strike a blow for the north in the opening Norfolk Stakes.

Trained by Tim Easterby, this super-sharp Dick Turpin colt was a seven-length winner on his debut at Thirsk before following up in the National Stakes at Sandown last time.

He was not the quickest away that day, but came out on top in a bit of a bunch finish and appears open to more progression.

Wadilsafa is the pick in the Hampton Court Stakes after reversing last year's form with the well-regarded Herculean on his only start so far this term.

Owen Burrows' runner clearly felt the benefit of a winter on his back as he turned a length-and-three-quarter defeat last term into a three-and-a-quarter-length victory last month.

He was getting a decent chunk of weight off the winner, but it was a good performance and he is bred to excel at this 10-furlong trip and beyond.

First Eleven - a Frankel half-brother to Kingman - has been attracting the headlines ever since his racecourse debut and can start to live up to his pedigree with victory in the King George V Stakes.

His recent Newbury win shows the penny has finally dropped for this promising colt and he looks the type to strike here before taking a swift upgrade in class.

Josephine Gordon can secure a landmark first Royal Ascot victory as Corrosive makes plenty of appeal after sneaking in at the bottom of the field for the Britannia Stakes.

This duo have struck up a good relationship, winning each of their three starts together, most recently when scoring over this course and distance last month.

ROYAL ASCOT: 2.30 Vintage Brut, 3.05 Wadilsafa, 3.40 Wild Illusion, 4.20 ORDER OF ST GEORGE (NAP), 5.00 Corrosive, 5.35 First Eleven.

CHELMSFORD: 1.45 Royal Guild, 2.20 Sanam, 2.55 Victory Wave, 3.30 Nathan, 4.05 Shailene, 4.45 Rustang, 5.20 Lalania.

FFOS LAS: 6.10 Nikki Steel, 6.40 Jeu De Mots, 7.15 As You Like, 7.45 The Bottom Bar, 8.15 Bodega, 8.45 St John's, 9.15 Borak.

LEOPARDSTOWN: 6.00 Joza, 6.30 Sovereign, 7.05 Dawn Trouper, 7.35 Dancing Lady, 8.05 Massuci, 8.35 War Hero, 9.05 Park Row.

LINGFIELD: 5.50 Secret Agent, 6.20 Just Us Two, 6.50 Roxy Art, 7.25 Peggie Sue, 7.55 Stosur, 8.25 Irish Times, 8.55 Midnight Blue.

RIPON: 2.10 Dreamseller, 2.40 Pearl Noir, 3.20 Braemar, 3.55 Lamloom, 4.35 Graceful Art, 5.10 Racemaker, 5.40 Blue Havana.

DOUBLE: Order Of St George and Vintage Brut.

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