Fabricate was made to pull out all the stops to successfully defend his crown in the Dom & Geri Personalised Banners Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor.
Michael Bell’s six-year-old carried the colours of the Queen to a decisive victory in the Group Three contest 12 months ago and was an 11-10 favourite to repeat the feat on his first start since disappointing in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Those who took the cramped odds were made to sweat, with Global Giant emerging as a serious threat late on, but to his credit, Fabricate dug deep into his reserves for James Doyle and passed the post a neck to the good.
Doyle told At The Races: “I was pleased with him. The race kind of went to plan.
“I was actually hoping to lead, but when the outsider (Euro Nightmare) took us along, I was pretty happy to take a lead.
“The second horse dived up the rail and he (Fabricate) didn’t spot him to begin with, but once he eyeballed him he knuckled down very well.
“He’s fully entitled to win a race like this. Obviously he was very short in the betting and he’s delivered.”
Desert Encounter made the most of having his sights lowered in the Sri Lanka August Stakes.
David Simcock’s stable stalwart had failed to get his head in front in five previous outings this year, but three of those runs were at Group One level in the Dubai Sheema Classic, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the King George.
Back in Listed company, the 11-2 chance travelled stylishly in the hands of Harry Bentley, coming from the rear of the five-strong field to get up and beat the front-running 6-4 favourite Game Starter by a length and three-quarters.
The runner-up was far from disgraced on what was his first appearance since completing a hat-trick at Doncaster last September.
Simcock said: “He’s better than Listed grade really. He’s won Group Threes and was third in the Eclipse last year.
“We’ve probably dined at the table once or twice too often, but he’s very comfortable in Listed company and now we’ll step back up to Group Three company, hopefully.”