Roger Varian’s Matsuri put his hand up for a potential crack at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with a startling success at Leicester.

The Sea The Stars colt was second on his debut at Salisbury, beaten a short-head, before breaking his maiden at Kempton in November.

That meant he was carrying a 6lb penalty in the first division of the Filbert Fox EBF Novice Stakes but he was in a different class to his rivals, pulling eight lengths clear under James Doyle.

Quite how strong the form will prove to be is up for debate but it was hard not to be impressed and he holds an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot as well as the Irish Classic.

Highly rated

Varian told Racing TV: “I was very pleased with that, he’s a nice horse and we’ve always rated him, his runs last year were very good.

“It was frustrating this spring, I just couldn’t get him ready in time for a Derby trial, which is what we wanted to do from the outset, but we had to be patient and he’s won nicely today, so hopefully that will set him up for a good year.

“He’s had three runs now, Royal Ascot is not that far away and the Irish Derby comes soon after that, so he’s got nice options, he’s a very talented horse and hopefully he’ll end up somewhere nice.

“First time out at Salisbury, he caught us out a little as he’d been very relaxed at home but he ran a little gassy, so first run of the year today we put the hood on, that’s not to say he needs one but we didn’t want to give him any excuses today.”