LAYFAYETTE (7/2) bounced back to his best form in the Group 3 Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes for Noel Meade and Colin Keane at the Curragh on Sunday.

The six-year-old was held up, as his is wont, in the 10-furlong contest and alongside his stablemate Helvic Dream, he gradually got himself into contention down the outside of runners in the straight.

Unless, who had set the gallop in front, was game with the lead, but after seeing off her first challenger Knight To King, the finishing effort of the Patricia Hunt-owned six-year-old was too good for him, with Helvic Dream running encouragingly in third.

Layfayette had been well held on both of his previous two runs but had won a listed contest in similar fashion at Limerick in June. This was his ninth career win.

“I was disappointed with him at Naas but he had to get a little bit of treatment on his back and when we did that, we had to give him a bit of time,” Meade said.

“Chris Hayes rode him and he said he turned in going as well as anything and he just blew up. I know it was a mile and a half and that just stretches him but I did think maybe these older horses just take a bit of work. He was just a bit stuffy but we made sure he wasn’t today.

“He is a real yard favourite. Where would you find a horse like him for reasonable or sensible money? The likes of Aidan and that have a stream coming along all the time but if you’re buying into horses on the flat, you don’t come across horses like that too often.”

It took Asean (17/2) five starts to get off the mark but now she has back to back wins and more significantly a listed success after she flew home on the inside to take the Qatar Racing And Equestrian Club Irish EBF Curragh Stakes for Donnacha O’Brien and Gavin Ryan.

The pace was strong in this five-furlong contest, set up by Son Of Corballis who was then pushed by Alabama, and that played into the hands of Asean, who came through strongly late on to win comfortably.

The winning trainer handles this daughter of Ten Sovereigns for his mother Annemarie and said afterwards: “She is improving with every run and I thought Gavin gave her a lovely ride. She is a fast filly with lots of speed and a turn of foot so the race worked out for her.

“It’s great to get blacktype in a five-furlong listed race. That is very valuable and often what buyers are looking for at the sales. We can have a look at group races yet but five-furlong options are few and far between. We might look at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf if she got in.”

Megarry (13/2) was one of the more experienced horses in the opening Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden and he put that factor to good use with a tough performance to get off the mark at the fourth time of asking for Gavin Cromwell and Gary Carroll.

The son of Inns Of Court, who runs in the colours of John Brennan but is also part owned by E Hughes and the trainer’s wife Kiva, raced prominently on the far side, took it up as early as the two furlong pole and despite drifting to his left late on, he had enough to see off Joseph O’Brien’s debutant Sweet Delta Dawn by a length and a half.

Weld eyes Gold Cup for improving Shamida

SHAMIDA (5/4 favourite) has done nothing but progress this season and she stepped forward again to see off Dawn Rising to claim the Group 3 Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes.

Dermot Weld’s filly initially raced in last position in the four-runner contest but raced keenly through the first mile and found herself closer to the leader Okita Soushi as the field began the long turn out of the back straight.

She was still able to move up to challenge on the bridle in the straight and it looked set to be a straightforward success when she loomed up to Okita Soushi at the two-furlong pole but the Queen Alexandra winner Dawn Rising emerged as a big challenger and had her pull out all the stops.

“She is a good-actioned filly and she showed that when she won her Group 3 at Leopardstown,” Weld said. “We’ll probably have one more run this year and I’d say it will be the Prix Royallieu, a Group 1 mile and six for fillies and mares (at ParisLongchamp), it’s a race that is kind of written for her.

“That is providing the ground comes up okay. If it was very soft in Paris, we wouldn’t run. She is very much a filly for next year. I think she could be a Gold Cup horse. She is game and brave, a stayer with speed, and that’s what you want.

“This was a very good trial. Two of the three she faced won at Royal Ascot. Chris (Hayes) said you could bring her back to a mile and a half for her next start but I think she stays so well, I’d like to keep her at a mile and six furlongs.”

Duplantis (14/1) had shown little on his three starts to date but the penny dropped for him in the Plusvital Speed Gene Nursery, which he took off a mark of 66 for Ger Lyons and Leigh Roche.

The Caroline Fennessy-owned son of Sir Prancelot was held up on the near side by Roche. He made smart headway up to the leaders after the two-furlong pole, but just as he looked to challenge, he veered left and looked to have thrown away his winning chance.

However, so strong was he finishing, once Roche got him straight again, his momentum took him past all three rivals on the inside rail. He has the scope to score again this term.

Lynam and Levins each hit a one-two

THE Bord Na Mona Recycling Handicap was all about Eddie Lynam, the Meath trainer landing a one-two courtesy of Jon Riggens (9/2) and Heavenly Power coming clear of their rivals late on in the six-furlong contest.

They were ridden contrastingly, Heavenly Power racing prominently for apprentice James Ryan and looking set to score once he loomed up to Big Gossey, but Ben Coen produced Jon Riggens with a head full of steam from a held-up position, and he had a neck to spare over his stablemate at the line.

The DWPJ Investments-owned gelding has been a little bit frustrating given his run style, but this was his second success of the season and he’ll be back here for the Bold Lad Handicap at the Irish Champions Festival.

“When you’re riding them for luck, it is what it says on the tin,” Lynam reflected. “I’d say if he hits the front a furlong down, one I won’t use the jockey ever again and two he won’t be in the first three, that’s just the way it is.

“The other horse wears his heart on his sleeve. He ran a good race. He’d have less racing done. I love both horses so it’s always hard when one beats the other but at least one of them won.”

The O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company Handicap, also run over six furlongs, was a near carbon copy except this time the trainer was Johnny Levins, whose The Organiser (7/2 favourite) came from the rear to overhaul stablemate Nordic Passage, who had been ridden more prominently.

Wayne Hassett was the winning rider and his 7lb claim is starting to look very valuable. He was strong on the winner here and although the two horses got close, prompting a stewards’ inquiry, the contact was minimal and The Organiser never looked likely to lose the race.

Levins has high hopes for the winner. He said: “I’m thrilled with The Organiser. When Donagh (O’Connor) rode him last week, I said to him tongue in cheek, this fella could win the Ayr Gold Cup next year.

“I think he could develop into a nice sprinter. He doesn’t have that sprinting physique yet because he was trained as a miler, he’s fairly light. Once you start training them as sprinters, they can get stronger.”

The concluding Sheehy Motors Cupra Apprentice Handicap went to the Peter McCreery-trained Brewel Hill (18/1) and Scott McCullagh.

Owned by the An Still Beatha Syndicate, the seven-year-old gelding came through with Akmaam late on, just getting the better of that rival inside the final furlong, despite drifting to his right.

The gelding had previously won for Gearoid Brouder before a short stint with Johnny Levins and then making his way to McCreery, who is based in Kilcullen. The trainer felt that drying ground was a real help to his horse and will aim to find him a similar contest in the near future.