Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo flew from the clouds to make a winning return to action in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Stakes at Newbury.
On entering the final furlong, Hughie Morrison’s stable star looked booked for fourth as Aspetar, Laraaib and Defoe broke clear in a race better known as the John Porter.
Marmelo – not surprisingly for a horse racing over short of his optimum trip – began to stay on stoutly for Gerald Mosse, albeit with victory still appearing rather remote.
With 100 yards to go, though, Marmelo was eating up the ground and Aspetar had no answer to his challenge, with the 7-1 chance pulling a length clear in the end.
Laraaib, who was last off the bridle, was two lengths back in third.
William Haggas’ Young Rascal was sent off the 13-8 favourite, but came under pressure early and stayed on at the one pace, hanging in the closing stages.
A jubilant Morrison said: “He is very lazy at home. I saw him in the paddock today and he looked fantastic.
“It is fantastic to win on your home track. I don’t think he has been within 200 miles of home in the last three years. He was a bit fresh when he got here.
“Why not (go for the Melbourne Cup again) as long as the handicapper doesn’t over-do him. I think we will stick to mile-and-a-half races in Europe and try to go up the grades.
“He did the last four furlongs in the Melbourne Cup faster than the Group One sprint that day. He is not slow.
“He obviously takes a furlong to get going, as you have seen today. Once he found that gear he (Mosse) knew he was going to get up.”
He added: “I put him in the Coronation Cup, basically if we came here and won, and it doesn’t look so stupid now. I would not want to run him on fast ground, though. I think he appreciates a bit of juice in the ground.
“I think as they are an owner/breeder they would love to win a Group One, but you could still do both and go to the Melbourne Cup. Why not, as he is a fantastic horse.”
Roger Charlton said of Aspetar: “It was rather pleasing, but it would have been more pleasing if he had won. I was very pleasantly surprised as he is rated 105 and was taking on 117-rated horses.
“He looked very good at Goodwood last year and he ran very well at Ayr, but then he was a little bit disappointing when he ran here on his last run. He always wants a bit of cut in the ground and that’s why I ran him today.
“We will just have to watch and see the ground, but there is a mile-and-a-half Listed race at Ascot in the middle of May he could go for.”