Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Ace again had to settle for second place when chasing home Alayan in the Group Three High Chaparral EBF Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge was sent off the 4-5 favourite but could never peg back the front-running Alayan (7-2) and was a length adrift at the line.
The market leader raced keenly for Kieren Fallon in the early stages and was always struggling to keep tabs on Alayan, who was given a fine ride by Mick Kinane.
The winner had the benefit of three runs in Dubai under his belt this year while Ace had not raced since going down by a length and three-quarters to Shirocco at Belmont Park last October.
“Race fitness made the difference,” said winning trainer John Oxx.
“He’s a good tough little horse who is very adaptable and goes on all sorts of ground but I’m not sure where he’ll go now.”
Decado romped home in the Rock Of Gibraltar EBF Tetrarch Stakes to book his ticket for the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Kevin Prendergast’s progressive colt had won impressively over course and distance on his reappearance just over three weeks ago and he followed up in similar fashion.
Declan McDonogh produced Decado to lead a furlong out and the son of Danehill Dancer ran on strongly to acount for British challenger Sir Xaar by three and a half lengths.
Prendergast said of the 9-4 favourite: “He will go for the Irish 2000 Guineas now, all being well.
“We will have to see how he goes but he keeps surprising us.
“He has done all his racing with ease in the ground so we don’t know how he will act on firm.”
Jazz Princess proved too good for her rivals in the seven-furlong Oratorio EBF Athasi Stakes.
Michael Halford’s filly was a Group Three winner as a juvenile but she failed to add to her tally last season, although she ran well on more than one occasion.
However, she got back in the winning groove with a convincing performance in the hands of Johnny Murtagh.
She moved smoothly into the lead with two furlongs left to go and then ran on strongly to resist the challenge of Ardbrae Lady by one and a half lengths.
Halford said: “There is no plan for her now. That was the plan. She has come good lately and she should improve for that.
“I’ve only had her since January and she likes an ease in the ground but she will handle good ground. She showed good form last year without getting her head in front.
“She will stay further and I wouldn’t be afraid to go another furlong with her.”
Drayton made it two wins from as many starts with a narrow call over Karl Burke’s Middleham raider Chjimes in the Listed Coolmore Stakes.
Tommy Stack’s 5-4 favourite got home by a head in the five-furlong dash and could now be Royal Ascot-bound.
The Tipperary-based trainer said: “He came out of the gates probably too well and ran a bit keen and was in front too soon.
“He’ll go for the Marble Hill Stakes next on his way to either Royal Ascot or the Railway Stakes.”