Only four went to post for the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race at Navan but it could not have produced a more exciting finish before Stepwise prevailed.
Forester attempted to make all after an absence of 419 days and was still just about in front approaching the final furlong, but he was soon under severe pressure from both Stepwise (evens favourite) and Won Diamond.
The three battled all the way to the line, but Declan McDonogh always looked as if he held the aces on John Oxx's exciting prospect and passed the post with a neck advantage. Won Diamond took second.
Oxx quickly doubled up when newcomer Rocktique (2-1 joint-favourite) put up a taking performance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, running on strongly for Niall McCullagh to hold market rival One True Love by a length and a half.
There was a desperately tight finish to the Lynn Lodge Stud EBF Median Auction Maiden and the verdict went to the Charles O'Brien-trained Muscle Beach, the mount of Fran Berry.
The 7-1 shot edged in front deep inside the final furlong but was attacked late by both the favourite Wilshire Boulevard, who was a short head behind at the line, and newcomer Gold Peregrine, who did not have the best of luck in running.
Shane Foley swept down the outside on the Eddie Lynam-trained More Questions (6-1) to take the Adelaide Insurance Services The Motor Cycle Insurance Specialists Handicap, holding Dorothy Parker by half a length.
The jockey completed a double when delivering Mick Halford's Danzerini (3-1) late from last position turning in to take the Landscape Solutions Handicap by half a length from Saratoga Baby.
James Barrett's Speed Dream (7-1) careered away with the Boylesports Bet On Your Mobile Apprentice Handicap, winning by five and a half lengths under Dylan Robinson.