Marie’s Diamond sparkled for the Mark Johnston team when taking the Group Three spoils in the Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.
The son of Footstepsinthesand had finished second in the Group Two Railway Stakes on this course three weeks ago, and went one better with a solid display over six and a half 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.
“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.”