Roger Varian’s Believe In Love returned to her best for a decisive victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Stanerra Stakes at Leopardstown.
The British challenger, penalised for last year’s Saint-Cloud success at this same Group Three level, had to concede 3lb and upwards all round and was sent off a 9-2 shot in a field of six.
She also needed to bounce back to form after losing her action and eventually finishing a distant last of seven in the Bronte Cup at York on her only previous start this season.
But Believe In Love, delivered from off the pace by Ronan Whelan, proved well up to the task as she hit the front in the final two furlongs and out-speeded her rivals to win by a length and a half from Federica Sophia.
Favourite High Heels set out to make the running, closely attended by a second British challenger in Sherbet Lemon – but they both faded out of contention.
Whelan, who was riding Believe In Love for the first time, said: “She did that well. Roger told me to draw a line through the last day, and not to even look into it.
“He said her homework had been very good, he was very happy with her and that’s why she was here.
“She travelled smoothly and picked up like a nice filly when I gave her the office. She’s probably only doing enough in front.”
Believe In Love relished a very testing surface at Saint-Cloud last October but had also struck on significantly quicker ground – as she did again here.
The winning jockey added: “She seems versatile ground-wise.
“(Roger) also said to me that last year she only came into her own at this time of year, so she should have a nice end of season to look forward to.”
Believe In Love holds several big-race entries over the coming months – including the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, for which Betfair cut her to 9-1 from 12-1 following her latest success.