Any juice in Gustav Klimt’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas price evaporated after he galloped through the rain-softened Leopardstown ground en route to winning the Ballylinch-sponsored trial.
It was a performance that resulted in the the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt joining stablemate Saxon Warrior at the head of the betting for the first Classic of the year. Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betfair Sportsbook and Betfred all now go 5-1 the pair, Gustav Klimt having been as a general 8-1 beforehand.
Gustav Klimt, who had not been seen since winning the Group 2 Superlative Stakes last July, kept on under a hands and heels ride from Ryan Moore, who may of course not be in the position of having to choose between him and Saxon Warrior come May 5, for he is likely to be at Churchill Downs to ride Mendelssohn.
O’Brien, who reported Saxon Warrior to be "coming along nicely", said of the winner: "The ground was far from ideal but it was nice to get a run into him as it's a long time since he'd run. Ryan was very happy with him.
"Ryan said he was very impressed with how he quickened, especially on that ground, as he's a real good-ground horse. The plan is to go straight to Newmarket now, all being well."
Stablemate Kenya made sure there was a solid pace in the 7f Listed race but he and another stablemate, champion two-year-old US Navy Flag, dropped away late on.
O'Brien added: "We knew US Navy Flag would hate the ground but we needed to get him out, and Kenya will stay further. Kenya could go for a Derby trial and US Navy Flag might go to the English or French Guineas and he'll grow another leg between now and then."
O’Brien later secured an eighth success in the Ballysax Stakes with Nelson, who, in the hands of Donnacha O’Brien, led home a 1-2-3 for the stable in a race that proved a springboard for greater things for former Ballydoyle greats Yeats (2004) and Fame And Glory (2009).
It also raised the possibility of Frankel siring the Investec Derby winner, his son Nelson being cut into a general 16-1 (from 25).
O'Brien said: "I was delighted with that. It was tough going out there and Donnacha was delighted with Nelson and said he stays really well."
On Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon, who followed the winner home, he added: "Seamus [Heffernan] was very happy with Delano Roosevelt. He said he just got a little bit lonely when he got there. Ryan was very happy as well with The Pentagon.
"Ryan said of all the horses he rode for us today The Pentagon was the one who wants real nice ground. He’ll come on a ton from that.
"It’s great because you need to get racing miles into them. They’ll probably all come back for the Derrinstown Stud Stakes and they’re all Derby horses."
O'Brien could not complete a clean sweep in the Classic trial races as Ger Lyons, who also won the opening maiden with Future Proof, landed the 1,000 Guineas Trial with Who's Steph.
Lyons said: "There’s every chance she could come back here for the other 1,000 Guineas Trial next month, but if a good offer came in she’d be sold.
"The horses are well but the only negative is that I didn’t have the balls to leave her in the Irish Guineas."
Asked whether he'd supplement for the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Lyons responded: "I'll have to go home and rustle the mattress and see!"