Investec Derby third Amhran Na Bhfiann had to settle for second on his return to action at Naas as Dermot Weld’s Zawara recorded an impressive victory.
Sent off at 66-1 in the Classic, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Amhran Na Bhfiann outran those odds behind stablemate Serpentine, but could not get his head in front dropped back to 10 furlongs and sent off the 8-15 favourite.
Epsom winner Serpentine has yet to run, but runner-up Khalifa Sat and fifth English King were well beaten at Goodwood last week, while the fourth home, 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, suffered a troubled passage in the Sussex Stakes.
Only Mogul, another O’Brien-trained colt, has so far boosted the Classic form with his win in the Gordon Stakes.
Amhran Na Bhfiann was allowed to make the running in the Nursery of Champions Maiden over 10 furlongs, but Weld’s filly always looked like she might have his measure.
To his credit, Amhran Na Bhfiann, who was giving away 10lb to the filly including Gavin Ryan’s 5lb claim, battled back but went down by three-quarters of a length, with the pair seven lengths clear of the third. It emerged post-race the runner-up had returned lame.
Weld said of his 9-4 winner: “I just thought we’d take a chance getting 10lb from the Derby horse. She had the 5lb fillies’ allowance and I felt Gavin’s claim might tip it our way.
“She’s a lovely filly and ran a nice race here on her debut. She’s a very progressive filly and loves a little ease in the ground.
“We’ll see if we can win a stakes race with her next. She’s bred to be a good filly.
“She has taken a little time, but I love to have some patience with these nice fillies and she fits into that bracket.”