Forgotten states Gold Cup case
Forgotten Rules warmed up for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot when preserving his 100 per cent record in the Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.
The ante-post favourite for the Ascot highlight enhanced his claims for next month's two-and-a-half mile Group One after passing a stern test posed by Answered on his first start for 211 days.
These two fought out a stirring finish to the Group Three contest over a mile and three-quarters after Sir Ector and Panama Hat had set the pace, and there was a length and a quarter in it at the line.
Forgotten Rules (8-11 favourite), trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by Pat Smullen, showed all the right qualities for a top stayer as he led two furlongs out and then held his race-fit rival, who had loomed up looking a major threat.
The two principals pulled well clear of Sir Ector in third, while the sole British raider, the David Lanigan-trained Biographer, only beat one home and never got into contention.
Forgotten Rules was trimmed into 2-1 favourite from 3-1 for the Gold Cup by Paddy Power.
Weld said: "I was very pleased with the performance and thought it was an excellent renewal of the race. Two very brave and high-class stayers fought it out.
"Not taking anything away from the second, he's a very good horse. He had the benefit of a run and was getting 5lb, so I thought it was an excellent performance by Forgotten Rules on his first run back.
"I'm pleased with the way he handled the drying ground and it augurs well for his future.
"The obvious logical next step is the Ascot Gold Cup and the only caveat I would have is that he would never want the ground too firm.
"Pat was very pleased with the way he strode out and he handled it well. It's beautiful ground out there and any horse would go on it. Credit to Navan, the track is in super shape."