Sir Dragonet put himself in the Derby picture as he turned the MBNA Chester Vase Stakes into a procession.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt only made his racecourse debut 13 days ago and after just a couple of furlongs in this Group Three event, he was detached from the rest of the field.
Dashing Willoughby set a good gallop up front, with Technician one of the first under pressure after finding it too much, along with the winner’s better-fancied stablemate, Norway.
Donnacha O’Brien did not seem too concerned about what was happening in front of him on Sir Dragonet though, beginning to make his move with half a mile to run on the son of Camelot.
King Ottokar was still going well as he moved up on the outside, but Sir Dragonet, who won a Tipperary maiden by three lengths, left him standing.
Sent off at 13-2, Sir Dragonet streaked eight lengths clear as Norway stayed on into second.
The winner was introduced into the Derby betting at 8-1 by Paddy Power.
Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, said: “That was a lovely surprise. He was a big baby at home and that is why he was not entered in the Derby. I suppose the lads will look at it now and make a decision a week or two beforehand.
“He has a beautiful Galileo pedigree by Camelot. It is all there, but he was a baby at home and he obviously comes alive on the track. We needed to educate him as he just had the one run before and Aidan thought this was a good place to come.
“Donnacha loved him. He said he gave him a lovely feel and was very straightforward and when he asked him, he quickened well. He was on top of them very early, but he was pleasantly surprised.
“I remember Treasure Beach when he won here and he was about 33-1 for the Derby and he just got chinned on the line. It is real good ground here and he would have learned a lot there. It was only his second run and he took it all in his stride.
“The pedigree is strong and it wouldn’t be a hindrance at all, lovely good ground. He got through that well and I’m sure he would love good ground.
“This gives Aidan a fantastic yardstick now. It is good to get a sleeper as well and one you don’t know about. It is always a pleasant surprise. The big horses you get nervous, but with these it is a fact-finding mission. Hopefully we are lurking on one.”
Donnacha O’Brien said: “He was still quite raw and green so I let him follow them along for the first two furlongs, but they went a good pace up front and I could tell three or four out I was going to win.
“It was a case of not getting there too early. There was a big engine in there once you asked him.
“He has never shown a lot at home and some of these well-bred horses learn to go to sleep at home, but he obviously saves it for the track. He has a great pedigree by Camelot and he looks to be an exciting sire. He is one to look forward to. “