Ramsa shows steel at Naas
RAMSA, trained and ridden by John Egan, just held on in a tight finish for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Naas.
Second on her debut at the track in April, she was a little outclassed when only eighth in a trial for the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time out at Leopardstown.
Egan kicked for home well over two furlongs out and held a good three-length advantage approaching the furlong marker.
One True Love finished with a wet sail, but Joseph O'Brien's mount went down by a nose in a photo finish with the 7-2 winner.
Egan said: "It is probably too quick for her. Being by Shamardal she likes an ease in the ground.
"We'll probably look at a Group Three in France for her now as there is a 70% premium as she is French-bred.
"She met with some early trouble at Leopardstown the last day."
O'Brien made no mistake in the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes as Reply (2-1 favourite) ran out a ready winner.
Second to Hitchens in the Greenlands Stakes last time out, he fulfilled that promise by sprinting clear approaching the one-furlong marker.
Trained by O'Brien's father, Aidan, Reply had finished third in the Irish 2000 Guineas last season but had been without a win since he struck in a sales race at Doncaster as a juvenile.
Jim Bolger's Tobann made eyecatching late headway but was still beaten two and a quarter lengths.
Joseph O'Brien said: "He is improving with racing and quick ground is the key to him.
"Trip-wise, six furlongs to a mile is ideal for him."
Mick Halford's great run of form continued as Slipper Orchid claimed her third race from just four outings this season.
A winner at Dundalk and the Curragh already this term, she appeared to have plenty to do inside the final furlong but quickened up decisively through a small gap under Shane Foley.
Despite running off a mark 18lb higher than for her success at Dundalk, the daughter of Verglas showed her improvement has not stopped yet as the 5-1 favourite beat Tarrsille by half a length.
Halford said: "She's very genuine. The ground was plenty fast enough for her today and she got bit fussy in stalls.
"Shane took his time on her and the gap opened up.She could go for a big fillies' handicap on Derby weekend."
Stubbs, a son of an Irish Oaks winner in Moonstone, is showing surprising speed early in his career and set himself up for a possible trip to Royal Ascot when victorious in the Alfred Nobel Rochestown Stakes.
Won by Dawn Approach 12 months ago, the Listed race only attracted a field of four but it was by no means a straightforward task with Richard Hannon's Sacha Park and Bolger's Club Wexford having already shown reasonable form.
Ballydoyle's inmate, sent off the 8-13 favourite, still looked in a different league to his rivals and cruised to victory without Joseph O'Brien needing to get too serious.
O'Brien jnr said: "It was a mess of a race. He did well to come from last to first.
"He would have to go to Royal Ascot. Look at what the winner of this race last year did."