Order Of St George turned the featured finale at Down Royal on Friday evening into a procession when soon at the head of affairs and was never threatened in the historic, Her Majesty’s Plate one of the oldest races in Ireland in the hands of former champion jockey, Joseph O’Brien.
The Ballydoyle trained winner was always travelling easily and only at the elbow (two furlongs out) did runner-up, Chapter Seven make a brief flattering bid to challenge however a shake of the reins soon sent the 1/5 favourite clear of his three rivals. O’Brien Jnr said of his father, Aidan’s horse – the Irish Champion trainer claiming the historic contest for the third time in recent running: “He didn’t need to improve to win today. He’s a nice horse and still very lightly raced and will improve again.
“He has prospects of making a very nice stayer. He could run in the St Ledger.”
The winner holds two Group 3 entries including the Irish St Ledger Trial.
The Irish Cider handicap for fillies supplied another photo finish with AnnaghHaven under a superb ride from Chris Hayes prevailing by a short head – the winner delivered late to catch runner-up, Oceania Queen which had made a brave attempt to make all the running.
Winning Co Meath trainer Michael Mulvany said: “That’s long overdue. She’s very honest and has plenty of placed efforts but recently just kept finding one too good.
“That’s her ideal trip [on the flat]. She’s entered in the mares hurdle at Galway and will see how she is after tonight. I don’t know if I’ll run her yet.”
Top jockey, Chris Hayes doubled up on the night with a gutsy front running display aboard the Paul Deegan trained, Park Rebel.
The winning trainer said: “It’s nice to get his head in front. Chris gave him a brilliant ride. He’s had little issues.
“He’ll probably go to the sales later in the year and will make someone a great dual purpose horse.
“He was still green in front tonight and has a lot of improvement to come - hopefully there’s another couple in him.”
The first race at the Lisburn venue produced a thriller in a four way finish with victory going to the locally trained, Boughtforasong, trained in Co Armagh for Mr and Mrs Patrick McCann by Georgios Pakidis.
A length separated the first four home however apprentice Sean Corby was seen to good advantage on the winner while the winning Loughgall trainer said: “She’s back racing as she did not go in foal earlier in the year.
“She likes this course and tonight’s going and had been dropped by the handicapper. I’m looking forward to going back to Dundalk and fast ground – she worked very well there last week.”
The local handler added he has ten in training at present.
Roibeard produced an impressive display justifying support into favourite on his debut to land the two year old maiden for trainer, Ger Lyons – the Co Meath handler claiming the prize the second successive year with stable jockey, Colin Keane in the saddle.
Lyons said: “He’s a typical son of Big Bad Bob and I was delighted to get him to train. He’s owned by a syndicate including Peter and Ross Doyle [Bloodstock Agents].
“They bred him and have the dam. That’s as fast as he wants and will improve buckets. He’s still a big green baby but done it well. This track is lucky for me.”
Peace Mission was another to register a fine effort in the fillies handicap when making all and sprinting clear in the closing stages.
Winning jockey, Gary Carroll in the absence of trainer, Thomas Mullins said: “She made a good debut but boiled over at Leopardstown last time.
“We put in ear plugs tonight and she was a different filly today.”
The seven furlong was another race that needed the camera after Plough Boy and Octavia pulled a long way clear and were only separated by a short head at the line – the verdict going to the first named trained by Garvan Donnelly and partnered by apprentice, Robbie Downey.
The winning trainer said: “He needs to be delivered as late as possible and Robbie gave him a great ride.
“He’s been gelded. He wants a fast seven [furlongs]. He’s entered at Galway on Wednesday over a mile and I’ll probably run him.”