Barney Roy gave a classy performance to book his World Cup night ticket as he led home a one-two-three for trainer Charlie Appleby in the Group One Jebel Hatta at Meydan.
The six-year-old stepped up from his encouraging win in the Group Two Al Rashidiya in January, on his first run since Royal Ascot last year, to show he retains loads of ability.
Ajwad was the early leader, with Spotify second, before the latter took it up in the straight. William Buick switched Barney Roy (8-11 favourite) to make his bid and quickened in decisive fashion.
Magic Lily stuck on well to get within a length and three-quarters of her stablemate, with Spotify completing the Appleby trio a length and a half away.
All roads now lead to the Dubai Turf on March 28, and Appleby said: “From that draw in 12, we decided we would have to ride him for luck. The horse has not made that easy for William, but that was a great ride in the circumstances.
“The horse is just so enthusiastic and keen to get on with things, but once William had him on an even keel in the straight, he was always going to win. He will go to the Dubai Turf and Magic Lily may do so as well. She has had a brilliant year at Meydan. Spotify had run very well also.”
Buick said: “I brought him out into the straight and he picked them up easily. He has a nice cruising speed, which is helped by his big stride, but also he loves a flat track like Meydan, where he can use that stride.
“It’s a testament to the horse and the team at home, who have done a great job with him ever since he stepped into the yard.”
Dream Castle, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was fourth to give Godolphin the first four.