Victory Heights grabbed a last-gasp verdict in a thrilling four-way finish to the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton.
James Tate’s youngster got up right on the line to deny the long-time leader Mighty Gurkha and land the latest fast-track qualifier for the all-weather championships at Lingfield on Good Friday.
PJ McDonald bought Victory Heights (11-2) in the final furlong to score by a nose from Hollie Doyle and Mighty Gurkha, with Yazaman a neck away third and Zamaani fourth.
McDonald told Sky Sports Racing: “What I loved was his will to win – he was at it from a furlong and a half out and wasn’t giving up tonight. The horse has a great attitude and makes my job easy.
“This was a competitive race, but we knew this lad has ability and it was just a matter of getting his confidence up and fingers crossed he can go on from here.
“He hasn’t put up a bad performance since (wind operation) and even though he was entitled to win at Newcastle the last day it still takes a bit of winning up there – if you’ve got horses with any sort of problem they’ll be found out on stiff tracks like that, but this lad battled on well.
“You could see tonight there’s nothing wrong with him and we’re very hopeful he can continue to improve. He’s on the right track.”
He added: “I’d imagine that would be him now, if James decides to have another little pipe-opener at some stage before Lingfield, I’ll leave that to him but I don’t think you’ll be seeing him for at least six weeks or maybe two months.”