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St George leads charge in big boost for Down Royal

By Frank Brownlow

With the Down Royal Summer Festival about to start, it was apt that Order Of St George was the big winner at Royal Ascot, triumphing in the Gold Cup.

The classy Order Of St George won Her Majesty's Plate at Down Royal last July with Joseph O'Brien in the saddle.

Order Of St George was an impressive winner of the Gold Cup In Honour of the Queen's 90th Birthday on a day Aidan O'Brien brought up a milestone 50th winner at Royal Ascot.

For a stayer the four-year-old showed a startling turn of foot to get Ryan Moore out of jail in a race which was run at a strong pace throughout, thanks to the French raider Mille Et Mille.

Mizzou gave chase in vain up the rail as the 10-11 favourite powered away to win by three lengths from Luca Cumani's charge.

Ulster jockey Martin Harley was on board third placed Sheikhzayedroad.

O'Brien will now prepare the winner for an Irish St Leger defence.

He said: "It was a little bit messy and rough and because he had never run over the trip before, Ryan had to put him to sleep.

"I think the plan is to give him a little rest and bring him back and get him prepared for the Irish St Leger and if that all ends well, he could go for the Arc."

O'Brien brought up his 50th Royal meeting triumph when Even Song justified heavy market support in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Having skipped the Oaks with stablemate Minding rightly earmarked for success at Epsom, the Coolmore team got it spot on.

Moore quickly put the race to bed on the 15-8 favourite, quickening up over a furlong out.

O'Brien said: "We were thinking we might go back to the Irish Oaks if all went well here, so that's what we might do."

There was a fourth winner of the meeting for Godolphin as Hawkbill (11-2) prevailed in the Tercentenary Stakes for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

"I'm delighted to get a winner on the board," said Appleby.

Robert Cowell provided the popular Luke Morris with a first Royal Ascot winner as Prince Of Lir (8-1) remained unbeaten in the Norfolk Stakes.

Morris said: "It's a great buzz. It's what you work hard for."

Former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne notched a sixth career win at the showpiece fixture when Defrocked clung on to win the Britannia.

Having hit the front a furlong out, Jamie Spencer's mount drifted right across to the rail but held off Abe Lincoln to win by a short head.

There was a sad postscript to the third day of Royal Ascot when Guy Fawkes, the Queen's runner in the King George V Stakes, suffered a fatal injury.

In an incident that involved no other horse, the William Haggas-trained three-year-old broke down in the first half of the race.

Pat Smullen pulled his mount up sharply as soon as he felt something go wrong, but Guy Fawkes had broken his leg and fallen.

Haggas confirmed Guy Fawkes had sustained a compound fracture of his right foot during the race and had to be humanely destroyed.

Smullen emerged unscathed, while Ascot racecourse expressed its sympathies to the horse's connections.

Belfast Telegraph

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