Sands Of Mali ran his rivals into the ground to spring a 28-1 surprise in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.
Richard Fahey’s three-year-old speedster had been disappointing since looking unlucky when beaten in the Commonwealth Cup, but bounced back in style.
Sands Of Mali got a great start, and his jockey Paul Hanagan was soon setting the pace he wanted.
Harry Angel – who was rather reluctant to load at the start – came out of the pack to challenge, but Hanagan had left a bit in the tank and Sands Of Mali kept up the gallop to score by a length.
Donjuan Triumphant was a length and a quarter away in third place.
Fahey said of the winner: “I’ve always felt he is a Group One horse – but as you can see a couple of his runs have been very disappointing, and we don’t know why.
“Today he got the soft lead he needed, and from half way I was happy.
“We just got nailed at the Royal meeting, and he has gone pear-shaped from there.
“At home he has always worked like a Group One horse, but he has now proven he is. He has had a couple of other goes and come up short, but today was great.
“I don’t whether he just hurt himself a bit running on the quick ground at the Royal meeting. I thought he ran okay at Haydock, but today was where we thought he should be.
“It’s a good result for a small trainer up the north!”
Hanagan was emotional as he voiced his thanks to the trainer.
“I enjoyed that one,” he said.
“I can never describe it, to ride a winner like this for the boss. He’s been with me from day one.
“To repay him like this is very special … he’s always been there.”
Clive Cox, trainer of the runner-up, said: “It was probably a bit difficult to change gear on that ground, but he has run a super race.
“There is always a moment of worry with Harry, because he knows what is coming at the start.
“He acquitted himself in the best possible way. When he goes to stud he will certainly be one to look forward to. I don’t know if he is going to stud now or not – that is not up to me.
“Fair play to Richard (Fahey) – it was his day today.”