Envoy and Moore beaten at Dundalk
War Envoy had to make do with the runner-up spot under Ryan Moore as Convergence claimed top honours in the Listed Patton Stakes at Dundalk.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien's son Joseph was expected to return to the Flat game at the County Louth venue, having missed the opening day of the turf season at the Curragh on Sunday after being described as "a little heavy" by his father.
However, Moore, who is set to be used by the trainer more this year than in previous seasons, was once again called upon to partner the only Ballydoyle runner of the evening.
Ridden by Moore on his final three starts as a juvenile, War Envoy was the 11-8 favourite for this first appearance since finishing down the field at the Breeders' Cup in November and was given plenty of time to find his feet.
He was coaxed closer to the front in the straight and looked in position to claim Convergence, but the Ger Lyons-trained 8-1 shot was too strong in the last of the seven furlongs and passed the post a length to the good under Colin Keane.
Rapid Applause, who ran with credit in the Railway, the Anglesey and the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh last season, was expected to give the market leader most to think about, but disappointed on his first outing since last August.
Lyons said: " It's a good start to the year for the little horse. He was the only horse I had ready for the race and it would be a shame not to have a runner.
"He's a good honest horse and he came on well over the winter. He's won two Listed races now and hopefully he can grow into something like the Ballycorus (Stakes).
"He's still in the Irish Guineas but that's a huge jump from here to there.
"We have the Jersey Stakes (at Royal Ascot) and races like that, there are plenty of options.
"I thought last year he'd want 10 furlongs but on what he showed tonight, we'll keep him to seven and a mile for the moment.
"We had plenty of offers for him but Vincent (Gaul, owner) needs a good horse like him."