WINDSOR, England, June 16 (UPI) -- Order of St George won Thursday's crown jewel of the Royal Ascot meeting, the Group 1 Gold Cup In Honour of the Queen's 90th Birthday, with a late run around the leaders.
With Ryan Moore up, the Irish-trained raider lagged well back in the big field and was wanting for room until things sorted out early in the stretch run of the 2 1/2-mile marathon. When Moore, lacking options, finally switched him out, Order of St George quickly ran to the front and was going away at the end, winning by 3 lengths.
Mizzou was second and Sheikzayedroad finished third in the marquee race of the year's biggest race meeting in a nation that embraces its stayers.
Order of St George, a Galileo colt, wound up his 3-year-old season with a victory in the Group 1 Irish St Leger, then started this year's campaign with an easy warm-up win in a Leopardstown heat under trainer Aidan O'Brien's son, Donnacha.
O'Brien was quick to credit Thursday's rider, Ryan Moore.
"Ryan gave him a great ride and was very cool on him," the conditioner said. "It was a very rough race. Ryan was very clever and didn't panic on him. He put him asleep and despite it getting pretty rough, he wasn't worried and pulled Order Of St George out in the home straight without using any gas. He had to be very cool to do what he did."
Given his performance on the soft going and at the distance, O'Brien said another tilt at the Irish St Leger could be a prelude to something even bigger in the fall.
"We would not rule out the Arc if there was suitable ground come Arc time," he said.
Three runners sporting the Godolphin Blue led the way in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/2 miles and two of them, Hawksbill and Prize Money, stayed on to finish first and second. Long Island Sound found a bit of run in the final 100 meters to get up for third. The other Godolphin standard-bearer, Race Day, an all-weather specialist, finished sixth after making the pace for his stablemate.
Hawksbill, an American-bred colt by Ken and Sarah Ramsey's star stallion Kitten's Joy, won his fourth straight race while stepping up in class. Trainer Charlie Appleby said he told jockey William Buick "to ride him like he was the best horse in the race and that's what he's done. Turning for home, I know they were traveling well behind us but we were traveling supremely well there up with the pace and I knew that he'd gallop all the way to the line."
Appleby said he has yet to set a course for the winner, adding, "He's not a horse that I'd want to go to the well too often with. He's got a nice future ahead of him."
Prize Money's trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, said he looks forward to running his charge at 1 1/2 miles.
In the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, it was Moore and O'Brien on top again. The seas parted for Moore and his mount, Even Song, as the field spread out into the stretch. Moore asked the Mastercraftsman filly to go and she responded, driving to a 1 1/2-lengths victory over Ajman Princess. The Epsom Oaks runner-up, Architecture, was fanned very wide on the turn and wasn't able to quicken, settling for an eighth-place finish under Frankie Dettori. Even Song scored her second win in her fourth start and provided O'Brien's 50th Royal Ascot score.
"It's great to get 50 Royal Ascot winners but I'm a small part of a very big team and everyone works very hard," O'Brien said. "I'm very happy for everyone. From the conception, to foaling, to bringing these horses along, everyone works very hard at Coolmore and Ballydoyle and I'm very grateful to them all."
O'Brien said the Group 1 Irish Oaks on July 16 at The Curragh is on the horizon for Even Song.
Also on Thursday:
Prince of Lir rallied to the lead past The Last Lion in the late going in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds and won by 1/2 length over that rival. Silver Line was third and the favorite, Global Applause, was a one-paced fifth. Prince of Lir, an Irish-bred colt by Kodiac, improved to 2-for-2 with Luke Morris riding for trainer Robert Cowell.
The American runner, Red Lodge, trained by Wesley Ward, finished ninth of 11 runners.
"Prince Of Lir has only had one start and is just a little bit inexperienced," said Morris, who got his first Royal Ascot win. "He is a very talented horse and once he hit the rising ground and got rolling he put the race to bed nicely."
Cowell said Prince of Lir will stick to 5 furlongs for the immediate future.
Defrocked darted through a small opening to take the lead in the Brittania Stakes at the straight mile, then lugged badly to the inside rail and barely held on to win by the narrowest of margins over Abe Lincoln. Chief Whip was third. Jaime Spencer rode the winner for trainer Jamie Osborne. Defrocked, a Lope de Vega colt, was coming off a victory just 12 days earlier at Doncaster.
Primitivo and Platitude emerged to do battle in the final 100 yards of the day's closer, the King George V for 3-year-olds. Primitivo, with William Twiston-Davies up, then found more, drawing away to win by 3 1/4 lengths despite drifting in toward the stands side of the course. It was his fourth straight victory. Harrison was third and the favorite, Shraaoh, finished 15th.
Sadly, on the day celebrating the Queen's birthday, a colt she bred and owned, Guy Fawkes, broke down after 2 furlongs and was euthanized.
Friday's penultimate day of the Royal meeting features a pair of Group 1 events for 3-year-olds.
The Commonwealth Cup, at 1 1/4 miles, features as the favorite Quiet Reflection, winner of four straight races. The daughter of Showcasing most recently landed the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock by 3 3/4 lengths over Donjuan Triumphant, one of Friday's 11 rivals.
The Coronation Stakes, restricted to fillies, is 1 mile. Jet Setting, a daughter of Fast Company owned by the China Horse Club, is the strong favorite for this event. She has won three of her last four starts, including the Irish 1,000 Guineas, but finished ninth in the English 1,000 Guineas.
American trainer Wesley Ward's daily entrant is Create a Dream, an Oasis Dream filly who won at first asking over the Ascot turf last month. She and Cuff, a two-time winner for the O'Brien-Moore axis, are the favorites. Blechley could decipher a role here, though.