A son of Galileo, Mars (4/7 favourite) had been the subject of plenty of hype and speculation in recent weeks.
The chestnut colt produced a workmanlike performance, making most of the running and, when shaken up by Joseph, stretching clear to beat stable-companion The Ferryman by four and three-quarter lengths.
It was an emphatic success, but hardly merited the predictable bookmaker reaction, Boylesports cutting him to 10/1 (from 12) while Paddy Power and Stan James both make him 12/1 (from 16) for the Epsom classic, still almost eleven months away.
Winning rider Joseph O’Brien commented: “He’s a lovely horse, with a real good attitude. He’s very uncomplicated and settled lovely. He’s still very green and will come on for the run.”
He added: “We had to wait for nice ground with him and he could have started over six furlongs. It wasn’t ideal making the running,. But he should learn plenty.”
The Ballydoyle double had been initiated when George Vancouver, a beaten favourite twice in very soft ground and backed into 11/8 favouritism, bolted up in the opening six-furlong maiden, slamming solid yardstick Lottie Dod by more than three lengths.
“The ground was shocking at the Curragh the last day and he couldn’t cope,” explained Joseph, “He’s shown plenty of speed at home from day one and will have no problem stepping into listed or group company. He needs nice ground and quickened up well today and sprinted to the line.”
Always a force at Dundalk, Fran Berry matched O’Brien’s double, scoring on Jessica Harrington’s Galway-bound Go On Murt, which followed-up a win on the track last Thursday in good style and Atmospheric, which got off the mark in the finale, providing trainer Eddie Lynam with compensation following the bizarre exit of Muck ‘N’ Brass in the earlier www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap.
Muck ‘N’ Brass, in front and, apparently, with the race at his mercy ducked violently left at the furlong-pole, unseated Colm O’Donoghue and collided with the rail, leaving the way clear for a four-cornered battle which saw 5/2 favourite Suehail and Fergal Lynch beat Barrow Island by a neck in a blanket-finish.
Suehail is trained by David Marnane, who said: “He’ll make a lovely four-year-old and will improve when he steps up in trip. We might think about having a crack at the Topaz Mile in Galway.