Kingsgate Native made a spectacular return to form as he regained the Betfred Temple Stakes at Haydock.
On a long losing run since this very event three years ago, when he was trained by Michael Stoute, the dual Group One winner subsequently moved to sprint specialist Robert Cowell.
The field quickly split, and Kingsgate Native was on the stands side along with the 11-10 favourite Sole Power, while last year's Middle Park hero and eventual third Reckless Abandon was stuck on the far group.
While Sole Power began to weaken, Shane Kelly was galvanising Kingsgate Native and he passed Reckless Abandon just before the post, finishing a neck in front.
Swiss Spirit, who was bumped at the start, ran a mighty race from the rear to snatch second.
Kelly said: "When I let him go, he really quickened up, but I don't think the horse realised he was in front until right on the line.
"It's great. William Buick (Swiss Spirit) beat me on the line at Newbury last year when I should have won."
Cowell said: "He's quirky and things have to fall right for him.
"He was as cool as a cucumber out there.
"He still showed a flash of brilliance last year and he's been training like a very good horse. He's shown it on the track today and I'm absolutely thrilled.
"We'll celebrate today and have a chat about what to go for at Royal Ascot.
"He's like a spring chicken. He bucks and he squeals on a morning. He's a happy camper.
"It could all go wrong next time but at the moment everything is going well and I hope it stays that way.
"To win a big one like this means a lot to the yard. It's brilliant."
Swiss Spirit's rider William Buick said: "He got bumped at the start. It cost him the race."
Clive Cox, trainer of the previously unbeaten Reckless Abandon, said: "Delighted. That will put him on his game completely. He had a Group One penalty and that probably just made the difference. We are over the moon with him.
"The ground was no problem and we are pretty versatile on any ground which is great news.
"We came here before Ascot because they need that race to put them on their game and I'm hoping that's done it. We've got choices at Ascot."
Eddie Lynam, trainer of fourth-placed Sole Power, said: "Disappointed. It is possible it was the racing he's had this year. We don't know. Fair play to the winner."