Order Of St George simply oozed class in winning his second Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) at the Curragh on Sunday to set up a tilt at either the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which he ran third last year, or the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Order Of St George, photo Liesl King
An 11-length winner of this Group 1 event when ridden by Joseph O'Brien in 2015, Order Of St George again trounced his rivals, this time scoring by nine lengths to become a dual winners of the event alongside Vintage Crop, Oscar Schindler and Kayf Tara.
He has some way to go before matching four-time race winner Vinnie Roe but already stands out from the crowd after becoming the first horse to regain the prize, having finishing second to Wicklow Brave –who finished fourth here – last year.
Ryan Moore, who endured a mixed Irish Champions Weekend with reverses for Winter and Churchill but another success on Caravaggio, seized the initiative as the ten-runner field turned for home and Order Of St George quickly forged clear and raced alone on the far rail to stretch clear of his struggling pursuers.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien for the Coolmore partners and Australian Lloyd Williams, the son of Galileo picked up powerfully for Moore to justify odds of 2-5.
O'Brien said: "Ryan kept it simple and it was a very good effort by the horse. We're delighted. We knew he'd handle the soft ground and that he had the class to deliver a performance like that.
"Now we have a decision to make and it will be made quite soon. We'll think about the Melbourne Cup but we could be tempted by sending him back for another tilt at the Arc, in which he ran so well when third last year.
"He showed at Chantilly last year that he is very comfortable over a mile and a half if there is ease in the ground."
Moore, who was enjoying his first win in the event, has now won all the Irish Classics.
He said: "Order Of St George is a brilliant horse. He's been round the block and gave me a very strong feel today."
The winner was cut to around a 14-1 chance (from 25) for the Arc, but is still as big as 25-1 for the Melbourne Cup.
O'Brien, who was winning the Irish St Leger for the fourth time, has not had a runner in the Melbourne Cup since 2008, when Septimus –who won that year's Irish St Leger – Alessandro Volta and Honolulu all finished towards the rear.
Their performances prompted a stewards' inquiry, with O'Brien being questioned about the riding tactics used in the race.
Torcedor, who had beaten Order Of St George in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan early in the season, finished second, with Mount Moriah faring best of the four British-trained challenges, four and a half lengths back in third.
The Queen's Dartmouth, who was sent off second favourite, never threatened and finished eight of the ten runners.
Note - Caravaggio won the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes (1000m) by 1L over stablemate Alphabet and Son Of Rest.