Nathaniel advertised his St Leger claims with an authoritative display in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
John Gosden elected to skip the Derby with the colt on account of fast ground, and his decision was truly vindicated.
William Buick had him in the perfect position throughout and kicked clear turning into the straight.
The 11-4 favourite powered clear to beat the staying-on Fiorente by five lengths.
Ryan Moore took the decision to run the first three furlongs on fresh ground under the trees aboard Fiorente, who was followed by the Neil Callan-ridden Mijhaar.
When the pair joined the main group, Fiorente could not go the gallop and was last to turn for home.
By then Buick had taken the bull by the horns and while Mijhaar looked a threat two furlongs out, his stamina ran out.
Alexander Pope also stayed on from the rear to grab third, but Fiorente was two lengths clear of him at the line in second.
Gosden said: ‘The Leger is the last Classic so we have to starting thinking about it as it comes up quite quickly.
‘He's a very good horse - he loved the ground and he stays well.
‘I think he and the one that won last night of Michael Owen's (Brown Panther) are legitimate favourites for the Leger.
‘He gets very fizzy and warm, that's his nature and that of the family.
‘The jockey pointed him in the right direction, so that was good.
‘The Voltigeur (York) is a strong possibility now - he'd go there with a penalty - and I also quite like the race at Newbury (Geoffrey Freer).
‘We'll have one run before the Leger if the owners want to go to Doncaster.’
Buick added: ‘He got warm, but he just wants to get on with it and that's just him.
‘He loved the ground, he stays well, and the only thing is I won a bit too far.
‘It's nice to get one on the board.’
Michael Stoute said of the runner-up: ‘He acquitted himself well and I'm very pleased with him.
‘Ryan and I had a chat and because of where he was drawn we thought we might go wide.
‘But he was too babyish and he wanted to join the pack again.’
When asked if he was a St Leger horse, Stoute replied: ‘I hope not. We'll take him back home and see how he is.’