Donjuan Triumphant lunged late to claim a poignant victory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot.
A field of 17 runners went to post for the six-furlong contest, with the William Haggas-trained mare One Master and Martyn Meade’s Advertise the joint-favourites at 4-1.
There were still several in with chances as the leaders raced inside the final furlong, with Denis Hogan’s remarkable improver Make A Challenge – rated just 66 prior to six wins this season – looking the most likely winner after hitting the front.
However, he was swamped by four runners as the post loomed and it was Andrew Balding’s 33-1 shot Donjuan Triumphant who had his head in front where it mattered, scoring by a length in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa.
Turning out just under a fortnight after claiming a second successive victory in the Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp, One Master ran a fine race to fill the runner-up spot, with Forever In Dreams and Brando close-up in third and fourth respectively.
The win comes a year on from the tragic death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who founded King Power Racing, in whose blue and white colours Balding’s charge runs.
Balding said: “He’s always come good in the autumn and I thought he ran a really good race last time behind Cape Byron, because he fluffed the start and things didn’t go to plan.
“He was third in the race last year and he’s such a legend – it’s fantastic for King Power to win their first Group One race, there were a couple of anxious moments, but Silvestre managed to get himself out.
“I’m just so thrilled for the horse as he was the first horse the chairman ever bought – he’d be so proud right now.”
He added: “We were quietly hopeful coming into it, but we needed everything to go right and we got a bit of luck in the end.
“He has been a star and has got easier to train. The head lad who works in his barn has worked hard on his joints, but this was always going to be his last race, as he is off to stud now in France now.
“He will go to stud, but I’m so pleased he has got a Group One for King Power.”
Haggas said of the runner-up: “She was maybe a bit unfortunate, but the winner won well. She ran a very good race and coming back to six on this ground was no trouble.
“We’ve got to make the decision whether to keep her racing or send her to stud. We will decide that over the next month or so. I don’t see why she shouldn’t race next year.”