Ambivalent (9/2) ran out a gritty winner of the "Betfred £10 Million Scoop6 This Saturday" Middleton Stakes at York.
- Related Content
Roger Varian's mare finished second in this race last year and she was able to go one better under a forceful ride from Andrea Atzeni.
The mare may have taken her time to get down to post but having been granted the luxury of an easy lead; the daughter of Authorized was to face a series of challengers inside the final couple of furlongs, with Secret Gesture briefly nipped on her inside to poach a lead.
The 2013 Oaks runner-up appeared to have come with a winning run under Jamie Spencer but Atenzi went into override in the saddle, and having switched his whip hand, the mare picked up instantly for his urgings to post a one-and-three-quarter length victory over Ralph Beckett's filly, with Odeliz staying on to be a never nearer third.
A delighted Atenzi said of the winner: "She's very tough. She got wound up before racing but I got an easy lead and she kept on finding more to the line."
Trainer Roger Varian remarked of the five-year-old : "She's a real personality, but she has a very big heart.
"She can act up a bit pre-race but not take anything out of herself.
"We learned in Dubai she took comfort in being with a pony and it just about contained her.
"She's not too bad at home when she's in her routine. She's just a bit highly-strung, that's her.
"Having been second in this last year, to come back and win is great.
"The loose plan is she'll go back in to Group One company.
"She competes so well abroad - winning in Ireland, second in Turkey and third in Dubai - so she's likely to go travelling in the autumn."
Ralph Beckett, trainer of Secret Gesture, said: "She ran very well and we're delighted.
"She's beaten by a Group One winner and I'm sure she'll improve for the run.
"We'll probably aim towards the Pretty Polly (Curragh, June 29). That is the obvious target."
Karl Burke said of Odeliz: "It was a great run and that ground is as quick as she wants.
"We'll have a think about where we go next."
Thistle Bird was sent off a warm 100/30 favourite though Frankie Dettori's mount faded having held every chance.
Sky Bet priced her at 33/1 for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot following the performance.