Bandua emerged as a possible contender for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby when following up a debut success with a likeable display in the Cork Racecourse Rated Race.
The Dermot Weld-trained son of The Factor had to give his main rival Whirling Dervish 7lb for a course and distance win three weeks earlier, but it did not stop him stamping his class in a four-horse affair.
Whirling Dervish made most of the running inside the final quarter-mile, where Declan McDonogh took Bandua into the lead.
The 4-5 favourite battled on well to land the spoils by a length and three-quarters, to be the middle leg of a treble for Weld and McDonogh.
Weld is looking to run Bandua in the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh next to see if can earn a crack at the colts’ Classic.
“He’ll run in the Gallinule Stakes next and if everything goes right he could go for the Irish Derby,” said the Rosewell handler.
“Time reveals all but he had 9st 10lb on his back there and it was a good performance.
“He got there sooner than ideal, but he is just a lovely big, improving colt.
Weld unleashed another promising three-year-old colt in Jewel Maker to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
The trainer expects Jewel Maker to hold his own in Pattern-race company after the well-regarded colt got off the mark.
The 1-2 favourite, who was running for the first time since finishing second to subsequent Group Three-race winner Flag Of Honour at Naas on his racecourse bow in October, had to work hard to score.
Burning Question made a bold bid to make all the running and was still in front a furlong out, where Jewel Maker came with a strong challenge.
However, McDonogh had to ask Jewel Maker to go and assert pass the long-time leader and he was just three-quarters of a length ahead of Aiseloas.
“He did what you’d expect him to do and is a colt that will really appreciate better ground and we’d hope to get black type with him in the coming weeks,” said Weld.
“He struggled a little bit when he let him down, but it was a bit of inexperience and I think he’s a horse who will come on considerably.”
Aztec Eagle (7-1) completed the treble for the Weld team when the four-year-old held Agent Zigzag by a neck in the Mallow Maiden.
“That was a very pleasing day and they were three nice winners,” said Weld.
“It was a good performance, we ran him in a bumper in January, when we were obviously wrong – we thought he’d stay the two-mile trip but he didn’t.
“A mile to 10 furlongs is what he wants and it was a good, battling performance. We’ll look for a handicap next.