Lord Massusus notched the biggest success of his career when scorching to victory in the Bahrain Turf Club Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown.
Joseph Murphy’s three-year-old had looked a progressive operator earlier in the year, but had failed to make his mark in two recent outings in Pattern company.
Sent off 11-2 when returned to a mile for this Group Three event, rider Gary Carroll was in no rush aboard the gelded son of Markaz.
In fact it looked as if the race was 11-4 favourite Alfred Munnings’s to lose when Ryan Moore hit the front in the home straight, but Lord Massusus was making stealthy progress and quickly inching his way into contention.
Carroll asked his mount for maximum effort approaching the final furlong and he had a willing partner as they hunted down Alfred Munnings with the post looming to register a one-and-a-half-length success.
“We were disappointed the last day but things didn’t go right for him, he pulled too hard,” said Murphy.
“We got him switched off today, he came home well and a fast pace suited him. He won like a good horse, I thought it was a good performance.
“That’s what he was showing us when we supplemented him for the Minstrel Stakes.
“That’s his fifth win now. There is a little bit of ease in the ground today, the day he ran in the Listed race and was running on well (fourth in the Celebration Stakes) it was good, so he’s versatile.
“He has a low action so good ground makes no difference.”
On future plans, Murphy said: “We’ll look forward to the big meeting now, he’ll go for the Dullingham Park Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend.”
There may have been no joy for Aidan O’Brien in the feature, but the Ballydoyle handler saw Chief Little Rock go one better than his debut course and distance second to get off the mark in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C & G) Maiden.
The son of Galileo needed every yard of the one-mile contest to assert his dominance, but the odds-on scorer appears a colt heading in the right direction and could have booked his ticket to bigger and better things.
“Ryan said he was very babyish still, that he came out and he didn’t really know what to do even after having a run,” said O’Brien.
“He said he always felt that he was going to win, but that he was very green with him and he said he felt like a horse that was going to improve a lot, so we won’t rush him.
“The first day he ran around and was green so we rode him up there today and he probably found all that new too.
“It was satisfactory, but he needs to come on and he thinks he will.”
He added: “We could look at something like the Beresford, but we won’t have to rush him and he’ll stay at a mile. He’ll handle an ease in the ground too, and he’s a middle-distance horse for next year.”
Also opening his account was Joseph O’Brien’s Up And Under, who put his experience to good use in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
Twice runner-up in Derby trials at the Dublin track before heading to the Curragh for the Irish Derby itself, the Lope De Vega colt took real advantage of this drop in class to get on the scoresheet as the 4-9 favourite.