Madhmoon set himself up for a crack at the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes with a comfortable victory in the Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown.
Fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and just denied in the Derby at Epsom, the Kevin Prendergast-trained colt had been off the track since his fourth in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Dropped to a mile, the Sheikh Hamdan-owned son of Dawn Approach raced towards the rear of the field through the early stages, as Ancient Spirit took the seven runners along.
He made progress from the three-furlong pole and once switched wide for his run in the straight, he only took a stride or two to pick up the leaders, without Chris Hayes having to get overly serious.
Zuenoon made late headway to take second, a length and a half behind the 4-7 favourite.
Prendergast said: “He did it well. The run will do him good, because he’s fairly burly looking.
“He’ll come on a lot and the Champion Stakes is his next outing. After that, if he puts up a good show, he’ll go to Ascot for the Champion Stakes there. We’ll see how he gets on here first.
“I thought he did it well. He stumbled out of the gate and just got a little bit unbalanced in the first furlong, then he settled in and raced nicely after that.
“He travelled well, quickened up well and won without a smack.”
When asked if 10 furlongs could be the winner’s optimum trip, Prendergast said: “Well he was second in the Derby over a mile and a half and you can’t argue with that as he’s only beaten half a length in the English Derby.
“On the day any of the first four or five could have won and I’m sure some very good horses will come out of the Derby.”