'Cliffs' stars in Naas treble for O'Brien
Last year's Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher rediscovered the winning habit in yesterday's Coolmore Camelot Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas.
Aidan O'Brien's charge won the Dee Stakes at Chester a year ago, before finding only stablemate Wings Of Eagles too strong in the premier Classic at Epsom.
He was last of five on his return to action in last month's Alleged Stakes but having blown away the cobwebs, he started 13/8 favourite for this 10-furlong Group Two.
With another Ballydoyle inmate in Yucatan and Ken Condon's stable stalwart Success Days slugging it out in front, Ryan Moore played his cards late aboard Cliffs Of Moher, swooping in the last 100 yards to get up and score by a length and three-parts.
Success Days ran a fine race to finish second, just over three weeks after finishing last of 10 runners behind the mighty mare Winx in Australia.
O'Brien said: "He relaxed lovely and came home well. He has an option of either the Coronation Cup (Epsom) or the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Curragh)."
This was the third leg of a 16/1 O'Brien/Moore treble as the pair struck earlier with juveniles Fairyland and Van Beethoven, which are now pencilled in for Royal Ascot.
Fairyland was a 7/2 chance for her debut in the opening six-furlong fillies maiden and there was a lot to like about the way she quickened clear late on.
Van Beethoven was the 1/2 favourite for the EBF contest after finishing third on his introduction and made every yard of the running on his way to a convincing success. "I was delighted with the filly (Fairyland)," O'Brien said. "She is an Ascot-type filly, but just needs experience."
The Ger Lyons-trained Lightening Quick made a successful reappearance in the Group Three Athasi Stakes, with Colin Keane steering the 9/2 chance to a three-quarter-length success from Xenobia.
The Listed Polonia Stakes went for export as Josephine Gordon partnered her first winner in Ireland on the William Jarvis-trained Mrs Gallagher which got the better of Golden Spell by just over a length.
Dermot Weld is eyeing a tilt at the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Imaging after he threaded the eye of a needle to get up and land the Coolmore Zoffany Tetrarch Stakes over seven furlongs.
Installed 2/1 favourite for this Listed contest, Weld's inmate quickened well under Declan McDonogh once the gap came to claim victory by three-parts of a length from Would Be King.