Robin Hoods Bay (10/1) swept past Windhoek close home to land the Group Three coral.co.uk Winter Derby at Lingfield.
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Runner-up 12 months ago, Ed Vaughan's six-year-old comfortably reversed recent form with a couple of rivals, including favourite Grandeur, when coming with a well-timed challenge under Luke Morris to hit the front near the line.
Held-up in rear as Anaconda cut out the early running with market principals Grandeur and Farraaj tracking the early pace, he still had plenty of horses to pass in the straight.
Grandeur got involved in a bit of bumping and barging with Farraaj on the turn for home and the well-backed Windhoek (who had raced a little freely) got first run on the pair as he made his move round the outside to hit the front as they straightened up.
It appeared as though the Godolphin owned runner had done enough only for Robin Hoods Bay's powerful finish to deny him in the closing stages.
The winning margin was three parts of a length with 33/1 chance Aussie Rules a length away in third.
Vaughan, who trains at Newmarket, said: "Robin Hoods Bay has always threatened to win a big one and was a bit unlucky last year, when he got caught in running.
"I have trained him for this race, as I have said all the way through. We had a couple of little issues with him earlier on and I just wasn't able to train him conventionally.
"I have let him have 10 per cent improvement with each race. This was the day for him and now we will have a crack at the Good Friday race.
"Initially, I thought that he wasn't travelling today - he is a horse that can travel really well but he wasn't travelling as well as he can today - and that has shown that they have gone a really good pace.
"Races are always perfect when they have gone too fast. That's what this horse needs and the harder the gallop, the better he is.
"I went into this race thinking that a lot of the big guns might come back for Good Friday. The owner loves Lingfield and I think I said when this horse was rated 64 that he was the best horse I have trained. He has gone and proved it today.
"I'm particularly pleased for his owner, Alan Pickering, who has been with me since the start and loves Lingfield.
"We thought today would be the big day but we will have one more crack on Good Friday. We have no reason not to go for the race and he will have a well-deserved break after that."
Morris added: "Things worked out nicely for Robin Hoods Bay in the race. The plan was to ride him a bit closer but they went a proper gallop throughout so I was sitting there, taking my time.
"He has got a good turn of foot and the way the race was run played into his hands. Usually, he gives you a good guide of the pace and, because he was off the bridle early doors, it meant that they were going a proper gallop.
"I am sure that he will be back for Good Friday now. What you have seen today is his level of ability and it's a good level."
The winner is guaranteed a place in the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic All-Weather Middle-Distance Championship over course and distance on Good Friday, April 18, the richest race ever run on the All-Weather in Britain.