The intangibles trainer Graham Motion wanted to see from Irish War Cry in his first move since his breakthrough triumph in the Feb. 4 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) ticked all the boxes over the Palm Meadows Training Center main track Feb. 25.
In what will be his lone serious work in advance of the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park March 4, Irish War Cry got the thumbs up from his conditioner when he covered five furlongs in 1:01.65 working in company with Divine Oath Saturday morning.
Motion wanted a straightforward and energetic outing from the son of Curlin to make sure Isabelle de Tomaso's homebred colt has his fitness for what will only be his fourth start. All signs seemed to point to mission accomplished, as Irish War Cry broke off behind his stablemate but drew off to put several lengths between them in the final sixteenth, recording a gallop out in 1:13 3/5.
"I wanted him to have a nice work and get something out of it, and he did all of the above," said Motion, who conditioned 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Animal Kingdom . "I think everything went as well as I could have hoped for. The horse continues to kind of handle everything. It's a little bit of an odd position for me, because I've never really been down these 3-year-old (prep) races before.
"With Animal Kingdom, he ran in an allowance race at Gulfstream and was actually beaten, so this horse in way ahead of him in that respect. He's already done a lot more, and that's not to compare the two. But it's just a different path than I've ever been down before."
Irish War Cry has yet to put a foot wrong in his three starts. He broke his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths with an impressive off-the-pace run at Laurel Park Nov. 11 and then took the Dec. 31 Marylander Stakes in same front-running fashion he used in the Holy Bull, where he toyed with a field that included reigning juvenile male champion Classic Empire.
It is that maiden effort that stands out most to Motion, as it showed his latest stable standout is handy enough to dispel any notion he might be a need-the-lead type.
"I don't think it was until he broke his maiden that he really caught my attention," Motion said. "We obviously liked him in the morning, but I could not have anticipated him winning the way he did first time out, which was very impressive. That kind of took my breath away watching him win that day."
With Irish War Cry already taking down the divisional leader in the Holy Bull while finishing up like he had more to give, Motion is viewing the Fountain of Youth as another chance to see just how much upside he is working with.
"The fact he can handle (being on the lead) and doing it the other way is great," he said. "It's just very exciting right now."
Fellow Motion trainee Miss Temple City also impressed on the worktab Saturday, covering four furlongs in a bullet :47 over the Palm Meadows turf in her second timed move of 2017. The multiple grade 1-winning daughter of Temple City is being prepped for her seasonal bow, which will likely come in either the Maker's 46 Mile (G1T) or Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1T) during the Keeneland spring meet.