MARIE'S Diamond sparkled for the Mark Johnston team when taking the spoils in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.
The son of Footstepsinthesand had finished second in the Group 2 Railway Stakes on this course three weeks ago, and went one better with a solid display over an extended six furlongs.
The pace-setting Fantasy held a good lead at one stage and when she came back to the field the race had an open look. Her Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemate Just Wonderful had every chance, but could not quicken in the final furlong.
The experienced Marie's Diamond (7/2) proved a willing partner for James Doyle and crossed the line half a length too good for Viadera, who ran a good race on his second career start. Just Wonderful was two and a quarter lengths away in third place.
Marie's Diamond - winner of the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes at @curraghrace for trainer Mark Johnston, jockey James Doyle and owners Middleham Park Racing @the_doyler @MprUpdates pic.twitter.com/mAJbPgFjXw— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 21, 2018
"The race panned out beautifully, how I kind of thought it would," said Doyle. "I got a nice tow into it so we didn't have to do all the donkey work.
"The leader died a fair way out and we were left there plenty soon enough, and he did prick his ears a bit, but when one or two came to him, like a true Mark Johnston horse, they really stick their neck out.
"He's going to get further than this. Seven and a mile will be well within his compass. He's been pretty tough and progressive this season, so he's one to look forward to."
The victory provided owners Middleham Park Racing with a double following the success of Ice Cold In Alex earlier on the card.
Their spokesman, Mike Prince, said of Marie's Diamond: "He ran really well in the Railway here the other day, so we thought we'd bring him back to have a crack at this and he's done it well.
"We paid €35,000 for him at Tattersalls Ireland and as you can see he's a bonny horse. He always walked well and he had a bit more for him at the sales as well, so we thought we got a steal really."
What an afternoon for @omeararacing - Larchmont Lad beats stable companion So Beloved in the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes for a @curraghrace double. Two-timer too for @the_doyler! pic.twitter.com/Ea2Jdl7c0F— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 21, 2018
David O'Meara completed a fine day as Larchmont Lad ran his rivals into the ground to lift the Group 2 Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes. The four-year-old led home a one-two for the trainer as So Beloved took the runners-up spot.
James Doyle dictated affairs from the outset on the consistent colt, wearing the colours of Cheveley Park Stud. Ryan Moore tried to deliver the Aidan O'Brien-trained 11/8 favourite St Patrick's Day with a serious bid, but his challenge was short-lived.
It was left to Danny Tudhope to come late on So Beloved to claim second place for the second year running behind the 4/1 winner, with Fas third.
Doyle was completing a double after his win on Marie's Diamond in the Minstrel Stakes, as was O'Meara, who was successful with Intisaab in the valuable Scurry Handicap.
"We were hopeful that both horses had a great chance coming over," said O'Meara. "I feel a small bit sorry for the owner of the second, Steve Barker, who is here, but someone had to win it and I'm glad Larchmont Lad did it for Cheveley Park as well.
"He was unlucky when he came over (to Leopardstown) last year and won and subsequently lost it in the stewards' room. For Mr and Mrs Thompson (of Cheveley Park) to allow me to take him back here and win a race is good.
"He's a very straightforward horse and he's quite tough. I gave James a free hand to do what he wanted and he gave him a fantastic ride. I'll speak to Chris Richardson, who manages all the horses for Cheveley Park and see what he wants to do now.
"So Beloved is an eight-year-old and it's a credit to him to still be running so well at this age. He'll probably go to the Lennox (at Goodwood) next and have a crack at that. He ran a really good race there last year when fifth and not beaten far."
Intisaab bounced back to form to land a valuable success in the Tote Scurry Handicap at the Curragh.
Out of luck in such hot races as the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle since winning at Haydock in May, David O'Meara's seven-year-old came good in this premier handicap over six furlongs.
Intisaab (8/1) had been dropped 6lbs in the ratings since that last success and it was enough to see him get back to winning ways.
Shepherd's Purse made most of the early running down the near side until the race opened up in the last quarter-mile, with Ardhoomey putting in a strong bid.
But it was Intisaab, in the hands of Danny Tudhope, who held the aces to score by three-quarters of a length. Ardhoomey was second with Gunmetal a length and a quarter away in third and Blairmayne fourth.
Intisaab maintains the good record of British runners in Irish sprint handicaps with victory in @thetotecom Scurry Stakes under Danny Tudhope at @curraghrace. Congratulations, @omeararacing pic.twitter.com/DmuyaWmK6d— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 21, 2018
"That was great. He's a very good horse. He won in Qatar this year, a very valuable race out there, and won a conditions race at Haydock, so he's borderline better than handicap company at his best," said O'Meara.
"He seems to like big fields and quick conditions to really show his best. That suited him down to the ground and the further he went in the race, the better he was looking.
"He could possibly come back here for Irish Champions Weekend. He was second in the Bold Lad here two years ago to David Barron's New Bidder."