Ante-post Cazoo Derby favourite Luxembourg was given a clean bill of health by Aidan O’Brien on Monday following his fine effort in the 2,000 Guineas.
The Camelot colt went into the Newmarket Classic unbeaten following a juvenile campaign that culminated in victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.
And while he had to settle for third place on the Rowley Mile, the general view was he had only enhanced his claims for the premier Classic. Stablemate Point Lonsdale did not fare quite as well, finishing in 10th place under Frankie Dettori.
Speaking at the Curragh, O’Brien said: “The two colts [from the 2,000 Guineas] cantered this morning and seem fine. Luxembourg just clipped heels after going 50 yards and he did well to finish where he did. I think he will go straight to Epsom, that was always the plan.
“Point Lonsdale might not have been as ready as I thought, and we might give him a little bit more time to see where he is going to go. He was always going to stay further.”
O’Brien had another Classic third on Sunday, with Dettori-ridden Oaks favourite Tuesday running well in the 1,000 Guineas. Stablemate Tenebrism was eighth as the 11-4 market leader on her first try at a mile, although the Ballydoyle handler feels that was not her true running.
“Tuesday may run in the Guineas at the Curragh and then go for the Oaks,” he said.
“Ryan [Moore] said that Tenebrism just got sandwiched for the first four furlongs and never got to relax.
“It was a bit of a non-event and we didn’t learn too much about her. She didn’t finish and maybe the reason was she was using too much gas or maybe she didn’t stay. We’ll probably have to run her again to find out.”
At the Curragh on Monday, Layfayette came from last to first to bring up a hat-trick in the Coolmore Sottsass Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien had won eight of the last 10 runnings of this Group Two contest, but his 5-2 favourite High Definition could not land a blow in fourth as Noel Meade’s five-year-old confirmed the form of their track-and-trip clash last month with authority.
Held up in the early stages by Chris Hayes, the 3-1 shot cruised into contention in a matter of strides approaching the final quarter of a mile.
He responded for his rider to keep on strongly in the closing stages and record a three-quarter-length victory over Bear Story, who produced a fine effort to outrun odds of 14-1.
Meade won last year’s Tattersalls Gold Cup with Hevic Dream, and admitted there will be a temptation to supplement Layfayette for the Group One prize.
He said: “He’s not in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, but we’ll have to think about supplementing him for it now. He certainly deserves a place in it.
“He’s in the Hardwicke and that is a possibility. He’s improving all the time and he was very good.
“As Chris said he nearly got there too soon. He’s beaten the same horses again but has beaten them better and I thought he travelled better today.
“We still think a mile and a half wouldn’t be a problem. I feel sorry for Oisín [Orr, who is injured] because he won on him twice this year but Chris won the Lincoln and a Listed race last year and knows him well too.
“It would be an expensive call to put him in it [Tattersalls Gold Cup], but we’ll decide closer to the time.”