County Kildare (Ireland) – Verbal Dexterity stretched clear for an impressive success in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday.
Jim Bolger’s colt made a huge impression when making a winning debut over the course and distance in June before finding only Beckford too strong in the Railway Stakes.
Having since been narrowly denied in the Phoenix Stakes, Beckford was the 6-4 favourite to go one better and provide Gordon Elliott with a first Group 1 victory on the Flat, but 5-2 chance Verbal Dexterity reversed previous form in some style.
Verbal Dexterity and Aidan O’Brien-trained Rostropovich were both being ridden passing the 400m marker and Beckford looked likely to assert after looming up ominously under Pat Smullen.
But Verbal Dexterity responded generously to Kevin Manning’s urgings to stay in the fight and eventually came home with 3.50 lengths in hand.
Bolger was claiming his fourth National Stakes victory following the previous triumphs of Teofilo (2006), New Approach (2007) and Dawn Approach (2012).
Bolger said: “I can see him as being champion European two-year-old. He’s the real deal. He’s as good as any of the two-year-olds I’ve had. He has a marvellous temperament, great looks. He has everything and is the complete package.
“He’s as good as any of the ones that have won the Dewhurst for us. Any of those five. I would think he’ll go for the Dewhurst next.”
Happily, trained by O’Brien and ridden by Donnacha O’Brien, won the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
The trainer withdrew likely favourite Clemmie on account of the testing conditions, but still fielded four of the eight runners in this Group 1 contest.
Magical had beaten Happily into second and another Ballydoyle inmate September into fourth place when landing the Debutante Stakes over the course and distance three weeks ago and looked likely to follow up after kicking clear in the hands of Ryan Moore.
However, 13-2 shot Happily found top gear late under the trainer’s son Donnacha and got up to score by a short head.
September rounded off a 1-2-3 for the trainer, almost four lengths away from the front two.
Order Of St George left his rivals trailing in his wake as he claimed his second victory in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger.
O’Brien’s charge was an 11-length winner of the 2800m Classic in 2015, but suffered a shock reverse at the hands of Wicklow Brave when a 1-7 favourite 12 months ago.
The five-year-old came within a short-head of claiming back-to-back renewals of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June, going down after a thrilling tussle with Big Orange, but having regained winning ways in last month’s Irish Leger Trial, he was the 2-5 market leader to secure a 10th career success.
With last year’s defeat perhaps in his mind, Ryan Moore took the bull by the horns and sent Order Of St George to the front rounding the home turn. It was a move his opponents were unable to match, with O’Brien’s charge galloping on relentlessly to score by nine lengths.
Torcedor was best of the rest in second, while Mount Moriah beat Wicklow Brave to third place.
Moore said: “He’s a brilliant horse. He has an awful lot of ability and was able to express that today.”
O’Brien added: “I’m delighted with him. We know he stays and handles soft ground. He went there strong today.
“His options would be the Melbourne Cup or the Arc. He’d be very comfortable over a mile and a half if there is an ease in the ground at Chantilly.
“Ryan let him relax. He moved him up a little bit and he locked on to him. He just said he kicked into gear and he didn’t want to disappoint him then.”
– Press Association.