Santiago produced an improved display to give Aidan O’Brien a seventh victory in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.
The Ballydoyle handler saddled two runners in a bid to add to his previous triumphs in the Group Two feature, with Ryan Moore partnering Santiago and Frankie Dettori aboard Nobel Prize.
The pair raced in unison for much of the contest and travelled kindly into the home straight, with 100-30 chance Santiago – not seen since landing a Listowel maiden in September – covered up in behind the leaders.
Once switched wide by Moore, the son of Authorized quickened smartly to grab the lead and put the race to bed with relative ease.
Berkshire Royal attempted to close the gap racing inside the final furlong, but Santiago never looked in any real danger of being reeled in and passed the post two and three-quarter lengths to the good. Al Dabaran was over eight lengths further back in third.
Betfair make Santiago 8-1 favourite for the St Leger, with Ladbrokes going 10-1.
O’Brien said: “He’s a lovely straightforward horse. He travelled well and we always thought he would stay well. He’s an easy horse to train and an easy horse to get fit.
“We’ve been thinking he was an ideal St Leger horse so we’ll look for another run somewhere between now and then really.
“I’m not sure he’d run in a Derby as he could be a Cup horse for next year – he’ll get better from three to four.
“We’ve plenty for both Derbys, the Irish Derby would come too quick anyway but we’ll see what the lads want to do.
“We think he’ll be a horse for the Cup races next year so that is why we thought this race would suit him.”