Aidan O'Brien's Cape Blanco ran out an easy winner of the Grade One Man O'War Stakes at Belmont Park, New York on Saturday night.
Jamie Spencer's mount quickened smartly off a slow pace turning for home in the turf race over a mile and three furlongs to beat dual winner Gio Ponti, runner-up to Goldikova in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November.
Gio Ponti also finished second to the then John Gosden-trained Debussy in the Arlington Million last year, and that is a possible next target for O'Brien's colt, who was successful in last season's Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes.
O'Brien told At The Races: ‘Jamie gave him a great ride, but we were worried when it rained last night. We hoped soft ground there wouldn't be the same as soft ground here.’
Cape Blanco started this campaign off with a fine fourth in the Dubai World Cup, but was only sixth over a mile in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
O'Brien added: ‘He's very tough and genuine. We ran him over a trip too short at Ascot but we were trying to slot them all in. This is the first time everything has gone right for him this season.
‘His choice was the Eclipse or races like this. Joseph (O'Brien) was very happy with him and this race slotted in lovely.
‘Something like the Arlington Million might suit but we will talk about it in the week.’