Order Of St George got his season off to a successful start when outclassing his two rivals in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.
The 2016 Gold Cup hero was turned over 12 months ago by Torcedor when sent off the 4-5 favourite, but he made no mistake this time.
Having his first race since lifting the British Champions Long Distance Cup, the six-year-old was much shorter at 2-9 on this occasion, but there were few anxious moments for his supporters in the Group Three heat over a mile and three-quarters.
British raider Lord Yeats, trained by Jedd O’Keeffe, set out to make it a true test and Paul Mulrennan upped the tempo when they turned for home. However, Ryan Moore was wise to the move and eased Order Of St George towards the middle of the course to make his challenge.
Leading at the furlong marker, Aidan O’Brien’s charge pulled away to score by five and a half lengths, to complete a double for trainer and jockey following the success of the promising filly So Perfect in the opening maiden.
O’Brien said “I’m delighted with him, and hopefully he’ll go for the Saval Beg (at Leopardstown on May 25) which is what we usually do and then on to Ascot.
“He finishes out very well when he gets into his tempo, and he gallops up the hill. Ryan said he was very relaxed and moved very well. They would be the two things that you would love to hear.
“We were looking forward to getting him started, he was well ready to start and will hopefully progress on to the next one. He was in a nice place.”
Paddy Power left Order Of St George unchanged at 7-2 for the Gold Cup, although RaceBets cut him to 5-2 favourite from 3-1.
Mary Tudor put up an emphatic performance to open her account in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Salsabil Stakes.
The Godolphin-owned filly had been Group-placed as a juvenile and made the ideal start to her three-year-old campaign as she ran out a ready winner on the step up to a mile and a quarter.
Billy Lee’s mount quickened well a furlong out and went on to score by two and a half lengths from Dermot Weld’s newcomer Hazel Bay, who shaped with great promise. Princess Yaiza was a further half a length back in third.
The winner is set to drop down to a mile for her next start, with trainer Willie McCreery keen to let the daughter of Dawn Approach take her chance in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on May 27, for which she was quoted at 14-1 with Paddy Power.
McCreery said: “She’s a lovely mare and has shown that form last year. She settled and did it well. She should get a mile and a half in time and we might go straight to the (Irish) Guineas now.
“I wanted to get her out to see where we are going with her. The ground dried up enough for her and that was the only thing I’d be a bit worried about – se wouldn’t want it any worse than that.
“I loved the way she quickened there when she saw the rising ground. She really put the head down, and it’s good that she is holding her form and improving a little bit.”