Wicklow Brave put up a game display to hold off the late challenge of Order Of St George and win the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St. Leger at the Curragh this afternoon.
Just four horses lined up for the final Classic of the Irish season, with the two three year olds Kellstorm and Unicorn both withdrawn.
Wicklow Brave jumped off in front and set a decent pace from Silwana and Trip To Paris, with Order Of St George settled in last, sweating heavily, but covering all moves.
The order remained the same as the field approached the home turn, where Wicklow Brave continued to make the best of his way home. Silwana soon faded and the last two Gold Cup winners gave chase.
With two furlongs to race, it developed into a cat and mouse game between Wicklow Brave and Order of St George, with Trip To Paris dropping away tamely.
Entering the final furlong, Wicklow Brave still had the advantage by about three lengths, with Ryan Moore working hard to bring Order Of St George into a winning position.
Gradually Order Of St George closed the deficit, but he did not have the same turn of foot demonstrated at Ascot, and nothing happened in a hurry.
Perhaps the strong winds on the Curragh made progress harder work than usual, whatever the cause, Wicklow Brave responded to Frankie Dettori’s urgings and reached the line still ¾ of a length to the good, for a major upset.
Wicklow Brave was giving Willie Mullins a first Classic victory, having landed his biggest previous success when winning the 2015 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The seven year old son of Beat Hollow had developed into a classy flat performer subsequently, but was officially rated a stone below Order Of St George going into this race.