Magician under O'Brien's spell as he wins at the Curragh
Aidan O'Brien plans to follow a tried and tested route with Magician after the dual Group One winner left it late to claim the High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
The master of Ballydoyle had saddled the previous four winners of the Group Three contest in Fame And Glory, So You Think, Windsor Palace and Camelot.
Fame And Glory and So You Think returned to the track to win the Tattersalls Gold Cup on their next start, and O'Brien is confident there is plenty of improvement in Magician ahead of his tilt at the same Group One prize on May 25.
Winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Breeders' Cup Turf as a three-year-old, Magician finished a slightly disappointing sixth on his return in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in late March.
Sent off a 2-13 favourite for his return to Irish action, the Galileo colt was settled at the rear of a five-runner field by the trainer's son, Joseph, and still had plenty of work to do at the top of the home straight.
Jim Bolger's 2011 Dewhurst winner Parish Hall, disappointing in two previous starts this year, set sail a over a furlong out and for a brief moment it looked as though the bird had flown.
However, Magician eventually found top gear and wore him down to take the Group Three prize by a neck.
O'Brien snr said: "I nearly got a heart attack looking at him (before the race).
"He was away in Dubai and things didn't go right for him.
"We gave him a little rest and he had a good tummy on him today.
"He's going to come back here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
"He's in a good place now and Joseph was very happy and said he won snug."
Magician's triumph was the second leg of a double on the afternoon for the O'Brien team, with The Great War remaining on course for Royal Ascot after making it two from two in effortless fashion in the Most Improved European Breeders Fund Race.
Following an impressive debut at Tipperary almost a fortnight ago, the War Front colt was the 1-9 favourite for his second start over five furlongs and blew his opponents away, coming home three lengths clear of Bwana without being extended.
"I'm delighted with that. He's fast and he's made a lovely progression from Tipperary," said the Ballydoyle handler.
"He could come back here for the Marble Hill Stakes, if the ground was fast.
"If not he could go straight to Royal Ascot."
RaceBets make The Great War their 7-2 favourite for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.
Dermot Weld is considering a tilt at the Irish 2,000 Guineas for Alkasser (10-1) after the Cork maiden winner turned in a smart display in the Listed Power European Breeders Fund Tetrarch Stakes, with Leigh Roche standing in for suspended stable jockey Pat Smullen.
Weld said: "Leigh rode him with extreme confidence and delivered the goods.
"I'll speak with Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) and Angus Gold (racing manager), but it's quite possible we might run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
"Whether he'll get a mile is another thing.
"I was concerned today about him getting seven furlongs, but he got it well."
Flying Jib could also be in Classic contention after striking gold for Weld and Kevin Manning in the Canford Cliffs European Breeders Fund Athasi Stakes.
A winner at Dundalk and at this track as a juvenile, the 2-1 favourite mowed down Peace Burg to take this Group Three by half a length on her seasonal reappearance.
Weld said: "Kevin gave her a strong drive and the filly responded.
"You'd have to consider her for the Irish 1,000 Guineas now.
"She won a Listed race well here last year and I think she'll appreciate a mile."
Trainer Eddie Lynam and apprentice jockey Robbie Downey combined to take the Irish Field Handicap with 14-1 shot Lady Mega.
Lynam said: "She did it well. The kid rode her very well and rode to instructions.
"We might take a chance and go up a furlong and run her at Naas next week."
There was a thrilling climax to the Keadeen Leisure Club & New Beauty Room Handicap, with the judge unable to split 11-2 shot Azurite and Roche-ridden 10-1 chance Breathe Easy.
Fran Berry produced 9-1 shot Woodsophiesmile with a withering late run to clinch the PG Duffy & Sons Citroen Handicap for trainer Tony Martin.