Markaz Paname further enhanced his growing reputation with an impressive victory in the Hollywoodbets Gladness Stakes.
A winner on his racecourse debut at Cork in September, the Ger Lyons-trained three-year-old went on to finish third in a Listed event at Dundalk a few weeks later before being roughed off for the winter.
Markaz Paname made a smart comeback when winning the Madrid Handicap at Naas in March and was the even-money favourite to successfully graduate to Group Three level against his elders at the Curragh.
After travelling smoothly into contention, the Markaz gelding was asked to go about his business racing towards the final furlong marker by Colin Keane and quickened up smartly to put the race to bed.
The winner’s stablemate Sh Boom, a winner over the course and distance last season, came home to good effect, but Markaz Paname was always doing enough in front and held her at bay by half a length.
Lyons said: “That was good. I’m happy now, but beforehand I got very watery as I just thought it’s impossible for a three-year-old to do that. He was a bit switched on and a bit buzzy but as Kerri (Lyons, daughter) said ‘he’s just a freak dad’ and I said ‘you’re right’.
“I’m not thinking what’s next. That ground is as quick as he’d want. It’s all about ground with him and he could have the summer off.
“We knew the record for three-year-olds was horrible in the Gladness but because the ground could dry and stay dry we came here.
“You could be talking about the Ballycorus Stakes and races like that but he can’t run on anything better than that ground.
“Seven furlongs is his trip, Colin knows he’ll get further but not at the moment.”
The trainer was also delighted with the performance of the runner-up, adding: “I’m absolutely over the moon with Sh Boom. She’s grown into a lovely stakes filly and Gary (Carroll, jockey) said there is one of them in her.
“Gowran (finished third three days ago) was only a piece of work for her the other day. We were only taking a pot as we own her ourselves, so to get black type for these fillies is fantastic.
“It was a good race all around and I can go home now and watch the match in peace!”