Layfayette served a reminder of his quality as he bounced back to his very best to land the Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh.
Noel Meade’s six-year-old was winning for the ninth time and it was perhaps unsurprising that he left a couple of lacklustre recent showings in the past at the scene of some of his finest hours.
Held up in rear in the early stages by Colin Keane, the son of French Navy began to make some stylish progress as the runners straightened for home and as the final furlong approached the 7-2 chance had the front-running Unless in his sights.
Aidan O’Brien’s Justify filly refused to lie down, but it was Layfayette who held all the momentum and surged ahead of the 15-8 favourite to register a going-away three-quarters of a length victory in the Group Three contest, with the stable’s Helvic Dream also staying on for third.
Meade said: “I was disappointed in Naas, but he had to get some treatment on his back and he needed time off and just got stuffy. He blew up in Naas. I know that was over a mile and a half which stretches him a bit, but he’s an older horse and takes a bit of work.
“He loves this place. He loves the long straight and this place and Naas suits him well. In Group Twos and Group Threes he’s very competitive.
“He’ll probably go for the mile-and-a-half race on Champions Weekend in Leopardstown if there is an ease in the ground.
“Gary (Carroll) said that Helvic Dream gave him a great feel and moved well. We might try and stretch him out to a mile and a half because later in the year on the ground that he wants there are not that many races over a mile and a quarter.
“There horses are very hard to find, you don’t come across them too often for reasonable money.”