Twilight Payment had gone close in the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes twice before and finally came out on top in the Listed feature at Leopardstown on Friday evening.
Second to the mighty Order Of St George in 2017 and 2018, the Jim Bolger-trained gelding headed into the one-mile-six-furlong contest on the back of a fourth to the reopposing Master Of Reality at Navan last month.
Capri – winner of the 2017 Irish Derby – led the field along in the hands of Donnacha O’Brien, but Kevin Manning and Twilight Payment (6-1) had the measure of the odds-on favourite over a furlong and a half out.
Instead it was Dermot Weld’s lightly-raced Falcon Eight who emerged as the biggest danger under Chris Hayes, eating up lots of ground but ultimately finishing three-quarters of a length in arrears.
Bolger said: “The better horses have been running well over the last six weeks and any little step up on that was helpful. He’d a good run at Navan the last day.
“He could go for the Curragh Cup and maybe Melbourne later in the year. He’s been a good servant and is nothing if not consistent.”
Hayes had better fortune earlier on the card when Mohican Heights put himself in line for the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot with a winning start to his career in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
The Fozzy Stack-trained Australia colt is from a good staying family and was soon to the front.
Challenged on his inside by Lil Grey in the straight, he found more when asked to run out a length-and-a-quarter winner.
Hayes said of the 14-1 scorer: “He’s a nice colt. We had a good draw and Fozzy was adamant that we had to be forward. He’s shown us plenty at home, but he was very green and raw.
“I was hoping something would come and join me, as he was just running around the place, but he was never in trouble as was always going to do enough.”
He added: “He could be a nice horse for the future. He’s a work in progress and I’d say he’ll improve as the year goes on.”
Hayley Turner made her first visit to Leopardstown a winning one as she partnered Arthurian Fame to victory in the inaugural running of the Microsoft Cup Lady Riders Handicap.
The top weight, and 100-30 favourite, made light of a welter 10st 10lb to win the mile-and-a-half contest by three-quarters of a length from Take A Turn.
Turner added success in this 50,000 euro race, the richest in Europe for lady riders only, to her claims to fame as a Group One-winning jockey elsewhere.
Arthurian Fame had been bumped up 10lb for his win over the re-opposing Ciao at Naas, on his first run of the season last month.
Turner sat off the pace on Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old gelding, allowing outsider Torcello to build up a healthy lead – with Ciao the closest pursuer into the straight.
But as the field closed, and then swamped the two leaders, Arthurian Fame was to the fore and had the best turn of foot before seeing out the trip well enough to hold on from Take A Turn – with The Mouse Doctor a neck further back in third.
Turner was thankful to have chosen the winner from several possible mounts in the race.
“It’s a very good prize,” she said.
“I was quite lucky, because my agent Steve Croft had a few to pick from and he chose the right one – so thank you to him.
“The standard of girl jockeys has risen so much in the last few years. They are getting better and better, and days like this give them the opportunity to show how good they are.
“It’s great for racing to have such a big brand as Microsoft sponsoring, and the day is for such a good cause in breast cancer research.”
O’Brien is already planning another big target for Arthurian Fame.
“There was plenty of pace on, and Hayley gave him a lovely ride – and it worked out well,” said the trainer.
“He’s an improving horse.
“The boys (owners Blackrock Racing Syndicate) have a few top hats that they want to dust off – so there might be something (at Royal Ascot) for him.”