Diamond Fields yields a rich harvest to keep Stack on a high
Diamond Fields swooped late to claim top honours in the Group Three Gladness Stakes at Naas.
Blue De Vega took the runners along for much of the seven-furlong journey and briefly looked to have cut loose heading inside the final quarter of a mile.
Alice Springs - the 6/4 favourite on her seasonal reappearance - battled her way to the lead close home, only to be caught by Diamond Fields (9/2) and Chris Hayes in the shadows of the post. There was half a length between them at the line.
The victory continues a fine start to the season for trainer Fozzy Stack, who this year took over the licence from his father, Tommy.
Stack said: "He gave her a very good ride as she doesn't kill herself when she gets to the front.
"She was a little bit unlucky last year in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and in America the saddle slipped one day.
"She also finished third in a Grade Two at Saratoga. It lashed rain beforehand and the ground was very slippy. She ran well at Belmont on her last start behind a very smart filly, and probably didn't just get the nine furlongs that day.
"She's smart and may come back here for the Athasi, and then maybe Ascot, although there is another race back in New York around that time, so we'll have to see where we go."
British challenger Air Pilot got up close home to land the Dr Vincent O'Brien Centenary Alleged Stakes.
Last year's Investec Derby runner-up US Army Ranger was the headline act in the Group Three contest and Aidan O'Brien's charge was the even-money favourite on his first start since finishing down the field in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October. But he looked in need of the run as he passed the post third.
Ken Condon's stable star Success Days put up a bold bid from the front, but Fran Berry delivered Ralph Beckett's Air Pilot with a well-timed challenge and the pair claimed the prize by a head.
T For Tango had just enough in the tank to claim a narrow victory in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden.
A field of 10 unraced juveniles went to post for the five-furlong contest, with the James Nash-trained T For Tango a 5/1 shot in the hands of champion jockey Pat Smullen.
The son of Zoffany quickened up well to hit the front, but Guessthebill came home strongly and there was just a head between them at the line. O'Brien's 2/1 favourite Sioux Nation was third.
Nash, recording his first two-year-old winner, said: "He's been a lovely horse all the way through and never once disappointed. I didn't think he would win but I was hoping he'd run well. Pat really likes him."
Smullen swiftly doubled up aboard Sorelle Delle Rose in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden.
Dermot Weld's grey was the 6/5 favourite to build on her promising debut effort over the course and distance in October when she was beaten just half a length into third place.
It was fairly plain sailing for the market leader, with Sorelle Delle Rose showing a smart turn of foot to seal the deal by three lengths from Camiyra.
Trainer Michael O'Callaghan and jockey Leigh Roche combined to land the Racing Again May 1st Handicap with the fast-finishing Rapid Applause.