The Dermot Weld-trained five-year-old, sent off at 8/11, had to battle hard to retain his unbeaten record after a titanic tussle with his market rival through the last two furlongs.
Pat Smullen’s mount, essentially, outstayed his rival in the final furlong to triumph by a length and a quarter, with longtime leader Sir Ector almost five lengths back in third.
“I’m very pleased with that performance,” stated Weld, “It was an excellent renewal of the race, fought out by two very brave and high-class stayers and particularly pleasing for his first run back, conceding 5lb. to the runner-up.”
And he added: “It proved that he handles drying ground – Pat said he strode out well on it. It augurs well for the future. Credit to Navan – the track is in super shape.
“Obviously, the Ascot Gold Cup is the next logical step for him. But I must stress that he would never want the ground to be too firm.”
Paddy Power reacted to Forgotten Rules’ victory by cutting him to 2/1 favourite (from 3) for the Royal Ascot marathon.
Another possible candidate for the Royal meeting is Toscanini, last seen when chasing home 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles in the National Stakes in September, which made a successful return to action for Godolphin, Michael Halford and in-form Shane Foley in the opening Brews Hill Race.
Always prominent and travelling strongly, he picked up to assert approaching the furlong-pole before idling and tiring and holding the late surge of Ainippe by a head.
“He was just ready to start and I’m very happy,” was Halford’s immediate response. “Shane said he had a good blow at the furlong-pole and he’ll improve plenty for the run.
"He’ll go to Naas (on June 1) for the Lacken Stakes (Group 3) and we’ll see how he gets on there before we decide whether he’ll go for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot (seven furlongs) or stay sprinting.”
David Wachman introduced Auld Enemy, a son of Fastnet Rock, to make virtually all under Wayne Lordan in the Requinto 2-Y-0 Maiden and admitted in his post-race comments: “He had a good draw and was professional, but he wants further.”
Wachman and Lordan completed a double when Curvy, which landed a tidy gamble over course and distance last time, defied the handicapper and justified favouritism in the ten-furlong fillies handicap, getting up close home to thwart Dragon Fei.
This was a fair effort by the Galileo filly, 12lb. higher than when scoring last month. Wachman intends stepping her into stakes company in search of some valuable black type.
Also in double form were Aidan and Joseph O’Brien, successful with Ivanovich Gorbatov and Jinska Lake respectively in the maiden action.
Joseph described Ivanovich Gorbatov as “a Queen’s Vase horse” following his victory over Torcedor in the Excelebration Maiden while Jinska Lake, runner-up in his only previous start — on this track — last October, justified 11/8 favouritism in the ten-furlong finale, earning a 33/1 Investec Derby quote from Paddy Power.
Having spent last season with John Quinn in England, Joe Eile made a winning return for Ger Ly0ons and Colin Keane when landing the sprint handicap at the expense of In Salutem.