Maker Of Kings stamped his class on the Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde Stakes at Tipperary.
Trained by Ger Lyons, the four-year-old looked the one to beat in the Group Three event – and so it proved, with Colin Keane’s mount running out a five-and-a-half-length winner.
Last time out Maker Of Kings had gone close in the Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown on Champions Weekend, finishing fifth but being beaten little more than a length by Real Appeal.
Keane was happy to track Johnny Murtagh’s Carrytheone into the straight – but once the field levelled out, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Maker Of Kings, despite conceding 3lb and more to his rivals, shot clear to win impressively – with Carrytheone staying on for second.
Shane Lyons, the winner’s assistant trainer, said: “He is very effective on that ground and has been a superstar for us all season since the (Irish) Lincoln (finished second) and ran really well at Leopardstown last time on ground which was quick for him.
“This is his ground – and as Colin says, he is probably better than a Group Three horse on this ground.
“First and foremost, we’ll be speaking to his owner and making a plan – but it’ll all be about next year, because this lad is only improving with age.”
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Magnanimous returned to winning form to post his first Listed success in the Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown.
Joseph O’Brien’s three-year-old saw off both his contemporaries and elders with plenty in hand, scoring by two lengths at 8-1.
Magnanimous, without a win in his previous four starts since prevailing in a Listowel handicap last September, made the most of a minor pull in the weights under these race conditions to number his Curragh Listed conqueror Lunar Space among those behind him this time.
Shane Crosse had the Mehmas colt positioned in third entering the straight, off the pace set by Koolasice. But once he challenged and soon led a furlong out, he took control – with Four Home Two closest at the line, and favourite Sinawann another length and a quarter back in third on his belated first start of the campaign.
The winner was returning to a mile for only the second time in his career, and assistant trainer Brendan Powell said: “His run against Poetic Flare here was a good run (sixth to the subsequent 2000 Guineas winner in April) – but last time, Shane said he was all over the place on the ground at Naas.
“He said he did that really well today. I’d say that’s by far his best run.
“He was shouldering a lot of weight in his nurseries last year. He’s a genuine horse – and he loves this (good) ground.
“Hopefully he’ll go on from here. He’s got speed for seven, stays this trip well and will probably stay a bit further even in time. I’m sure there will be plenty of options for him.”
Juncture built on her debut effort with an emphatic victory in the opening Yeomanstown Stud “Shaman” Irish EBF Fillies Maiden.
Ger Lyons’ juvenile was no match for Contarelli Chapel at Naas in April, but still caught the eye there as one who looked sure to be winning races.
Colin Keane had the 11-10 favourite in front early this time, and was then prominent throughout before taking over again just inside the last two furlongs and stretching clear to win by three and a quarter lengths from Radiyka.
O’Brien’s debutant Seisai – running in the all green colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede much more widely associated with jumps racing, and a half-sister to Magnanimous – kept on well from off the pace to finish a promising third.
Shane Lyons, assistant trainer of the Juddmonte-owned winner, said: “We’re very happy with that.
“She was green the first day – as you’d expect – and we gave her a two-week break. She enjoyed herself, and we were a little worried that she might be a little stuffy for it.
“Hopefully she’ll improve again for that. That trip is ideal, and she’ll get a little bit further.
“That was the first box ticked. We’ll see where we go now as it’s going to be a long year with her.”
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Maker Of Kings returned to winning form in first-time blinkers with an authoritative display in the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown.
Ger Lyons’ four-year-old was runner-up in the Irish Lincolnshire on his first start this season and was then a beaten odds-on favourite when he went down by a short head at Tipperary last month.
But he had no trouble with this rise in class to Group Three level, as the 7-1 winner under Colin Keane.
Maker Of Kings was soon up with the pace set by Raise You, then took over in the final two furlongs to assert by a length and a quarter – with Erzindjan staying on to get closest to him, a neck in front of 7-4 favourite Ace Aussie.
Lyons’ assistant and brother Shane said: “He’s a grand horse who ran well in the Lincoln. Colin said we should put headgear on, and it’s worked.
“He’s a fun horse for his owners. He loved the ground and will get further.
“We’ll probably put the headgear on and off. He just gets a bit lonely – and with the headwind today, it helped.”
Eaglefield gave trainer Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning a winning start on the card as he got off the mark at the second attempt in the opening John R Fitzpatrick Agricultural Contractor Maiden.
The Gleneagles gelding was second on his Gowran debut over this same trip of seven furlongs just four days ago.
He proved he was ready to go again, though, sitting just behind Jeroboam and clear of the rest before collaring the long-time leader in the final furlong and then just having enough left to hold on from closers Baldomero and Emilie Gray by a neck and a head.
The line came just in time for the 13-8 favourite, for whom there do not appear to be any big plans just yet.
Bolger’s daughter Una Manning said: “You’d be happy with him – Kevin said they went a right gallop the whole way, and he battled well.
“I’m told we’ll see how the handicapper treats him and go from there.”
Later in the final two races, the imposing Sir William Bruce and The Mediterranean completed a four-timer for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
The Ballydoyle trainer and jockey were responsible for a Group Three double as Bolshoi Ballet and Joan Of Arc posted resounding victories to signpost their respective big-race ambitions this season.
Then in the Cabinteely Handicap, Sir William Bruce got the better of his fellow three-year-olds too as he broke his duck on his handicap debut – and fourth career start.
Moore always had the 11-2 shot within striking distance before taking charge two furlongs out and staying on to hold on by a diminishing half length from Snowy Owl.
O’Brien said: “He’d a better run than it looked in Naas (beaten favourite in a maiden last month), because he had a very bad draw and hit a number of ridges down the back.
“He’s a grand horse, and anything from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half would suit him. Ideally he’d prefer a more strongly-run race, but Ryan gave him a good ride and had him in a good position.
“We might go back for another handicap and give him time to progress.”
The Mediterranean had to battle hard to see off Ruling for victory in the closing Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden by a length and a quarter as the 100-30 joint-favourite.
O’Brien said: “He’s a grand horse and we thought he’d come on plenty for it. We weren’t sure about the mile and a half as he was showing a bit of class at home, but he answered the question that he gets it.
“It was a good solid-run race so he would have learned a lot. There was no hiding place.”
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