Kieren Fallon was resigned to losing a ride on a genuine contender for the Qipqo 2000 Guineas after partnering Native Khan to success in the Breeze Up Vendors Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
Fallon will appeal against a 10-day ban he received at Kempton but is not holding his breath about a reduction in its severity.
Native Khan's trainer Ed Dunlop has not yet confirmed the grey for the first Classic of the season but is clearly tempted after a solid, if unspectacular, effort in this long-established trial.
A winner of his first two starts before finishing fourth in the Racing Post Trophy, the 8-11 favourite was slightly on-edge in the preliminaries but was professional enough during the race as he came two lengths clear of Libranno.
The Greenham Stakes-bound Frankel remains an odds-on favourite for the Guineas, while Native Khan was unchanged at 16-1 by Ladbrokes and Coral.
'I won the Guineas on King's Best in 2000, and he ran a similar sort of race in the Craven,' said Fallon.
'It wasn't the strongest race, he's still babyish, but he's right there.'
Dunlop added: 'Coming here was an afterthought - we were going to go straight to a Guineas - but he came to hand quicker than I thought and I'm glad we ran.
'He has always been a bit bouncy and was about 85% today. He will go for a Guineas but we have to decide which. He is French-bred, so that's an option, but I am certainly not ruling out coming back here.
'The only thing is that he will not run anywhere where there is any soft in the ground. He could well be a French Derby horse but I want to run in a Guineas first.'