Young Rascal returned to form with a convincing display to take the Matchbook Floodlit Stakes at Kempton.
Leading a furlong from home, the William Haggas-trained gelding quickened in good style for Tom Marquand to land the Listed event by three lengths from Loxley.
There was a decent pace throughout the mile and a half, with outsider Mina Vagante doing the honours early on before Spirit Of Appin went on more than five furlongs out.
But Young Rascal (4-1) made eye-catching progress at the top of the straight and put the race to bed with the minimum of fuss – while favourite Royal Line disappointed in fifth place.
It was the four-year-old’s first victory since he ended the last campaign with two Group Three prizes at Newbury – and his first race since running below par twice in the spring, after which he was gelded.
“He’s a talented hose who lost his way in the spring, for whatever reason,” Haggas told Racing TV.
“He didn’t run properly in the John Porter, and then he ran badly in the Jockey Club Stakes, so we cut him and gave him a lot of time off. He’s come back well and has been training very well.
“We had him in the St Simon Stakes, which is what we were planning – (but) then it was abandoned.”
Plan B proved a winner, however.
Haggas added: “This race fitted in quite kindly, so it worked well for him.
“He’s probably run to his mark. But I feel he raced a bit rustily when he came off the bridle, and Tom had to get into him a bit. Once he did, he went away nicely.
“He doesn’t do anything too quickly – but he’s a nice staying horse and he’s a pretty smart horse.”
Young Rascal is now set to go on his travels – with visits to Hong Kong, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Dubai all possible.
Haggas said: “My plan was always to give him the summer off here and then try to get invited to Hong Kong for the Vase – which I hope he will – and then go to Australia for the Sydney Cup with a prep run in the Ranvet Stakes.
“Now he’s gelded we are going to race around the world for some money – and he’s a very sound horse, so that was a great start. He’ll have bigger challenges to come, but let’s get on with it.
“Saudi Arabia have put a spanner in the works by putting on a two-and-a-half million dollar staying handicap over a mile and seven – so that might be very tempting. I need to go over and have a look at their track – but I gather it’s a big, galloping track.
“That would be good, and obviously there’s the Sheema Classic and the Dubai Gold Cup in Dubai.
“We have a lot of options, and the great thing is we’ve jumped the first hurdle. If he can jump all the others then we’ll be very pleased.”