Aidan O’Brien scored his first winner of the week at Goodwood as Land Force lifted the Qatar Richmond Stakes.
The Ballydoyle handler has made no secret of the fact his yard is not quite firing on all cylinders at present, but Land Force was nevertheless well supported for this Group Two heat, being sent off the 5-2 favourite under Ryan Moore.
A son of No Nay Never, Land Force raced prominently enough as Konchek helped force the early pace and Moore was left in front with a couple of furlongs to run, but the challengers would not go away.
He appeared to hit a bit of a flat spot inside the distance, but as Marie’s Diamond came up to his quarters, Land Force found a little extra to come home a length clear.
Anglesey Stakes winner Marie’s Diamond, who was led out unsold at £675,000 at the Goodwood Sale on Wednesday evening, clung on to minor honours by a neck from Shine So Bright.
O’Brien was not present, leaving Coolmore’s UK representative Kevin Buckley to outline possible plans for the colt.
He said: “We are very pleased with that, as he ran on very gamely at the end. He fought for Ryan nicely, he was very pleased with his attitude and it was stepping back up to six (furlongs) again – we couldn’t be happier.
“We would have preferred a slightly better draw, but Ryan got him in a nice position and he battled on well for him. If you look back at his run at Ascot (third in the Norfolk Stakes), that was good form.
“He is out of a mare by Rock Of Gibraltar and is by No Nay Never, so it is fantastic for him to have a Group Two winner in his first crop.
“We will probably step him up in class now and whether we look at the Morny or the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, they could be on the agenda.”
Marie’s Diamond could reoppose in the Prix Morny for Mark Johnston.
He said: “He got squeezed out of the stalls and knocked a front fetlock, but it was probably a little bit sharp for him.
“We said seven next, but Silvestre (de Sousa, jockey) said ‘no, a galloping track over six will be fine’ so he will probably go to the Morny.
“His last three runs have been very consistent, so we can’t complain about that.”