Aidan O’Brien has paid tribute to staying star Order Of St George after his retirement was announced on Tuesday.
The highlight of his 13 career wins was when landing the the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016 and he was beaten just a short head by Big Orange in a tremendous renewal when defending his crown 12 months later. His final run was when a below-par fourth to Stradivarius in the 2018 running.
The Galileo colt also gained a dour victory in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot in 2017, not to mention two Irish St Legers.
He was no sluggard, finishing third in the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and fourth in the 2018 edition.
He began his 2017 campaign with a creditable second at Navan in a Group 3 races over 1m 6f before landing the Beg Stakes at Leopardstown over the same trip.
Then came that agonising defeat at Royal Ascot, before a second runaway win in the Irish St Leger, a fourth in the Arc and his game success on Champions Day at Ascot.
O’Brien had been hoping to prepare Order Of St George for a potential third Irish Leger win on Sunday, but when it became clear the horse would not be ready, connections decided to call time on his racing days.
“He has had a lot of racing and we didn’t want to take any chances with him,” O’Brien said. “He has a lot of miles on his body and was getting a bit older, and that was the reason really.
“When it looked like he wasn’t going to make the Curragh, we made the decision and he was always going to go to stud anyway.
“He was a great horse. He had a lot of class, handled all kinds of ground and all kinds of trip. He’s a big, clear-winded horse and a big, good moving, scopey horse.”
He also had the pace to finish third and fourth in the past two runnings of Prix de l’Arc de Triomph.
The son of Galileo accumulated almost £2 million in prize money and will stand as a National Hunt stallion for Coolmore in 2019.