No Ascot Gold Cup re-run at Goodwood - but O'Brien plans big Glorious prize bid
Order of St George will not take on Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup - but Aidan O'Brien still has his eyes on that prizes and many others at Glorious
Race-goers had hoped to see O'Brien's horse and Michael Bell's double Goodwood Cup winner go head to head in the first Group 1 running of the contest on day one of the Qatar Goodwood Festival in a rerun of their epic Ascot Gold Cup battle.
But O'Brien revealed at the event's London launch that US Army Ranger would be the horse to carry his Coolmore team's hopes in the Â£500,000 showpiece.
Disappointment at that news, though, will be offset by news of other O'Brien intended runners in the big races during the week. And there will be some who will be pleased that one of the obstacles in the way of Big Orange claiming an historic Goodwood Cup hat-trick has been removed.
Ireland's champion Flat trainer told the Glorious launch by phone from Ireland: "It one of the meetings we really look forward to every year and more so than ever this year."
He said Gold Cup second Order Of St George would not take on his narrow Ascot conqueror, Big Orange, saying: "Order Of St George will miss Goodwood and we have decided to be represented by US Army Ranger. He is having a little bit of a midsummer break. He will probably have a prep for the Irish Leger and then have an autumn campaign.
"Churchill is good and everything has gone to plan with him since Ascot and we are aiming him at the Qatar Sussex Stake (Â£1 million, G1, 1m, Wednesday, August 2).
"He seemed to be fine after his Royal Ascot run - it was a very hot day in Ireland and England, and it may been the combination of travelling in the warm weather (that he finished fourth). We are not making excuses and he seems to be in good form - he has come out of the race well.
"The temperatures we experienced that day were extreme on both sides of the Irish Sea and he wouldn't have experienced anything like that before. We are not sure that is the reason (for his performance at Royal Ascot).
"Winter is going for the Qatar Nassau Stakes (G1, 10f, Thursday, August 3) and she too has been good since Royal Ascot. She is very straightforward at home and we all are all very happy with her at the moment.
"Looking at her three wins over a mile this year, you would think this longer trip will be within her compass. We are looking forward to seeing her run over a mile and quarter."
Kevin Buckley, Coolmore's British-based representative, talked about the other possible Coolmore runners during the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
He said: "The meeting is still two weeks away, but at this stage on the first day (Tuesday, August 1) in the Qatar Vintage Stakes (G2, 7f), we could potentially see The Pentagon, a Galileo two-year-old who was very impressive in Ireland on Saturday."
The Pentagon romped away with a seven-furlong maiden at the Curragh on his second start, winning very easily by eight and a half lengths after finishing sixth in a similar race the month before.
Buckley added: "The Qatar Richmond Stakes (G2, 6f, Thursday, August 3) could be the target for US Navy Flag, second in the July Stakes last week. He is improving no end - he had his maiden win and then ran a good second in the July Stakes, with blinkers on for only the second time.
"He is a full brother to Roly Poly who won the G1 Falmouth Stakes so it was a great week last week for the family.
"We should a few runners each day for the Qatar Goodwood Festival. I would have thought after his decisive win in the Minstrel Stakes (G2), we would have a look at the Qatar Lennox Stakes (G2, 7f, Tuesday, August 1) for Spirit Of Valor.
"I imagine that Lancaster Bomber will team up with Churchill for the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1, 1m, Wednesday, August 2).
"Looking at the Friday, I could see Washington DC in the Qatar King George Stakes (G2, 5f). Unfortunately, in his last two races, at Ascot and Haydock, he has been drawn on the outside. The horse needs cover and when he gets it he can pounce on the line.
"Come the Saturday, in the Qatar Gordon Stakes (G3, 1m 4f), we may have a look at Spanish Steps, though he did run on Friday at Saint-Cloud.
"The Qatar Goodwood Festival is a fantastic sponsored event and we love attending the meeting.
Get all the latest on the Glorious Goodwood build-up in this week's Observer