Aidan O’Brien has confirmed his star stayer Order of St George will look to regain his Royal Ascot Gold Cup crown in June.

In what was arguably the race of the season at Ascot in 2017, Order of St George was pipped by popular winner Big Orange in the final strides. O’Brien’s champion went on finish a close fourth in the Arc and came back to Ascot to storm to QIPCO British Champion Long Distance Cup success on QIPCO British Champions Day in October. This season may take a similar path to last year for the Ballydoyle star.

“He’s in good shape and everything seems well with him,” O’Brien told AtTheRaces

“We’ll look to give him a similar sort of campaign as last year leading up to the Ascot Gold Cup and we’ll see what happens there before we make any more plans for him.”

Another Royal Ascot hope for O’Brien is an overseas acquisition in the shape of Flemington Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Merchant Navy.

The Ireland-bound Australian sprint star could featuring in the shorter distances at Ascot in June.

“He hasn’t arrived here yet, but he’ll be an exciting horse to train,” O’Brien said.

“They say he’s straightforward and we’re looking forward to getting him here.

“The hope will be to run him in one of the sprints at Royal Ascot and we’d ideally like to get a run or two into him before then to learn about him, but we’ll see how we go when he arrives.”

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