Aspetar ran out an impressive winner of the Sky Bet York Stakes to complete a memorable 15 minutes for Roger Charlton.
Hot on the heels of Blue Mist winning the Moet & Chandon International Stakes at Ascot for Charlton, his five-year-old turned what looked a competitive Group Two into something of a stroll on the Knavesmire.
Aspetar had in fact won a Group One in Germany last season, but escaped a penalty for that success, and surely more races at the highest level await following this impressive display.
Second to Andre Fabre’s Magny Cours on his reappearance, he clearly stripped much better for that and never looked in any danger.
The two market leaders, Elarqam and Telecaster, took the field along – but it looked as if they perhaps cut each other’s throats, because with two furlongs to run they both looked in trouble.
With King Of Comedy ploughing a lone furrow away from the others, he never looked a factor as Aspetar kicked clear entering the final furlong.
Fox Chairman and Lord Glitters, who ran with credit just days after the death of his owner Geoff Turnbull, made ground from the rear – but Aspetar had put the race to bed before they hit top gear, and he won by a length and a half at 11-1 under Jason Watson.
The winner was given an 8-1 quote by Betfair for the Juddmonte International back at York next month.
“He’s been very progressive – we’ve always liked him, and this year he’s been a lot more relaxed at home,” said Watson.
“We’ve taken our time with him – he ran a nice race back at Sandown a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve come here quietly confident. Although he’s not always the most straightforward, he’s matured plenty – and he put the race to bed very well today.
“He’s quite versatile with trip. A mile, a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half – he’s a small horse but well built with a good turn of foot. That’s what some of these stayers lack, which plays into our hands.
“I didn’t have to do a lot today, nice and smooth through the gears, and he’s done it well.”
As for whether the Juddmonte International may beckon next, Watson said: “It was a competitive race today, and I didn’t think we’d win like we did.
“He’s improved massively and keeps on improving, so we’ll just see how he comes out of this, but he was impressive today.”
Charlton’s son and assistant Harry explained that lessons were learned in Aspetar’s narrow defeat earlier this month.
He said: “Last time at Sandown let us learn that he has got an electric turn of foot.
“Jason will admit himself that he went a bit early at Sandown, and he said he surprised him how quickly he ran past a pretty good field and then got tired and wandered before being beaten by a pretty good horse of Andre Fabre’s.
“Dad and I have been thinking about it for two days – how we were going to ride this race.
“I said ‘why don’t you sit last, go slow, relax, let them have their battle (up ahead)?’ – which he did, and he gave him a great ride.”
Having watched the victory from Ascot, Charlton confirmed a return to York may be in plans – before an international campaign later in the year.
“I think Jason would say he probably got there too soon again,” he added.
“He got the job done and he was impressive.
“It is possible we could go back to the Juddmonte. We looked at some of the German races he could have run in, but the prize money levels have been decimated.
“We are kind of pot-hunting, with him being a gelding. I suspect their (owners’) aim will be to end up in Qatar for the big races at the end of the year, so we will build towards that.”