Beat The Bank set up a return to the top table after bouncing back to winning ways with a tenacious success in the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Having failed to feature in the Sussex Stakes on his last visit to the track, the Paco Boy gelding showed plenty of heart to successfully land the Group Two prize in the hands of Oisin Murphy.
The Andrew Balding-trained five-year-old, who was carrying a penalty for his success at the same level in the Summer Mile at Ascot on his penultimate start, was one of a host of runners in with a chance of victory entering the final furlong.
It looked as though Zonderland, runner-up for the past two years, was going to go one better after hitting the front, but with a sustained effort the 11-8 favourite burst through late on to defeat Whisky Baron by half a length. Stormy Antarctic a further head away in third.
The winner was cut from 25-1 to 16-1 with Ladbrokes for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.
Balding said: “It was a bit of a relief, as he was never comfortable throughout the race.
“He didn’t travel with his normal enthusiasm and he ran wide on the bend, but all credit to Oisin as he did a fantastic job to get him home. It was a fantastic effort with a penalty.
“I think he is better than that and we will look if there is something a miss. Credit to the horse and jockey that they got the job done.
“I think he deserves his place in a Group One field and it is tough going to Group Two races with penalties. That (QEII) is very much the target.
“I don’t think we will go to America. The Woodbine Mile was a possibility, but to be honest we will stay closer to home and look at Hong Kong in December. The owner is keen to go there.”
Murphy, who was celebrating a third straight victory in the race, hailed the courage shown by the winner.
He said: “He is a very tough horse. It is hard to give a penalty away. I thought it was a decent field for a Group Two, as there was plenty of quality in there.
“Hopefully Beat The Bank can score at Group One level in the future, as I feel he is that class of horse.”