Moonlight Magic turns on the style at Leopardstown
Jim Bolger's Moonlight Magic threw his hat into the Investec Derby picture by winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.
A winner of both his starts at two, the son of Cape Cross got bogged down in heavy ground on his reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes.
Back on a sound surface he travelled sweetly in the hands of Kevin Manning in third place, ready to pounce in the short straight. Once his pacemaker Saafarr gave way and Beacon Rock could not go on, Moonlight Magic quickened clear.
A lot was expected of Dermot Weld's Tirmizi but he flattered to deceive, while Richard Hannon's Ventura Storm never got involved after seemingly taking a false step on a road crossing.
Aidan O'Brien's Shogun stayed on takingly for second behind the 6-1 winner, beaten a length and a quarter, with stablemate Idaho third.
Manning said: "I've always loved this horse, but he disappointed me the last day. The ground was very heavy and one thing and another. He's come back and showed me what I thought he was. I think a step up in trip would be good for us.
"I don't know about Epsom, but I definitely think he's got a future and a step up in trip would be no problem."
Bolger said: "I'd be keen to go to Epsom. I think he can go anywhere, but I'd have to discuss it with the Godolphin people and arrive at a consensus. If it were left to me I'd be very keen to go.
"I've always held him in high regard. We kept him to the end of the year last season, his maiden form was good and then he won a Listed race. I got it wrong the last day, he probably wasn't at the top of his game and we paid the price, but he's bounced back today.
"He's a very classy horse and he'll stay a mile and a half, but I wouldn't mind dropping back to a mile - he's got plenty of toe. He was as good today as St Jovite was when he won the Derrinstown, but he didn't win at Epsom, he was second.
"He's a proper Derby horse. I would respect the opposition but not fear them.
"That is the first bit of decent ground we have had this year. He's a very classy horse and has a good temperament. His dam is a half-sister to Sea The Stars."
O'Brien said of the placed horses: "They ran well. I think you'd have to say Idaho and Shogun would get a mile and a half looking at that, as they weren't stopping at the line."
Coral go 14-1 about Moonlight Magic for Epsom from 25-1, and RaceBets 16-1 from 25s.
With Hugo Palmer ruling the impressive 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold out of the Epsom Classic, punters will be hoping Sir Michael Stoute's Midterm (11-4 favourite with Coral) stamps his class on the Dante Stakes at York this week.