First Earl shaped very promisingly when finishing a close second in the latter division of the four-year-old maiden at Kirkistown. Having just his second start, the Jeremy gelding was given a positive ride by Luke Murphy, having picked up the running with a circuit to go, he had much of the field on the stretch down the back. The €55,000 store still held a four-length advantage turning in and was only joined at the final fence. While he couldn’t quite match the winner on the run to the line, Richard Black’s charge stuck gamely to his task and lost little in defeat to an exciting sort. This was a very taking performance, considering there were a number of smart looking individuals in behind and this likable sort could go on to big things under rules.