LAYFAYETTE (112) may have had race fitness on his side in the Group 3 Alleged Stakes however the ease of victory, the time-figure and the closing sectionals firmly assert that Noel Meade’s gelding is on the upgrade.

Oisin Orr brought the five-year-old from the rear of the field with a perfectly timed challenge to deny the returning High Definition a comeback victory. The closing three-furlong sectional of 35.94secs was 0.76 faster than Glory Daze (93+) achieved in the well-contested maiden and, as the race times portray, the pace was much stronger.

The son of French Navy is ideally suited by good ground and, with exaggerated waiting tactics now employed, I have no doubt he can add to this first Group 3 success.

This was a career-best time-figure on my numbers by High Definition (110) so it may be his ideal trip is a mile and a quarter as his previous best was achieved in the Dante Stakes at York over a similar trip.

Gear Up (108+) and Helvic Dream (106+) both caught the eye on their seasonal debut and can progress from Sunday. Gear Up employed a change of tactics having made the running when with Mark Johnston. On this occasion the son of Teofilo finished off nicely into fourth having raced off the pace.

Helvic Dream prefers much softer ground than he encountered on Sunday, so it will be a surprise if he does not add to his fine Curragh record if the ground eases as the season progresses.

The opening two-year-old contests were both noteworthy on the clock with Tough Talk (98+) combining a similar time-figure to 90-rated handicapper Stag Night (98) as well as a faster closing sectional. Meditate clocked the fastest closing three-furlong sectional on the straight track.


Tough Talk denied Aidan O’Brien an opening-race double by the narrowest of margins as he edged out Little Big Bear (98+) in a driving finish. The closing sectional posted by the winner was 37.14secs, compared to Stag Night’s 37.43secs. The pair were nicely clear of their field and are undoubtedly very smart juveniles.

If there was an eye-catcher in the field it was Panic Alarm (92+) who finished off well after dropping to the rear early in the race. He is sure to improve for the experience.


Meditate (85+) was a wide-margin winner and as her closing sectional of 36.46secs portrays she was stronger at the finish than any other part of the race as she stretched clear in the final furlong.

Markaz Paname (102) was another to make race fitness tell in the Gladness Stakes, holding the late charge of stable companion Sh Boom (102), who closed from the rear of the field. As the winner posted a closing sectional of 36.94secs off a strong pace it was probably not ideal to be held up, so Sh Boom may have been disadvantaged.