Kingston Hill became the latest horse to look a real Classic candidate in winning the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Held in the highest regard by Roger Varian, the Newmarket trainer and owner Paul Smith took the decision to supplement the unbeaten colt at a cost of £17,500 earlier in the week and that faith was rewarded with a most impressive success.
Racing in mid-division through the early stages, he was asked to quicken well over a furlong out by Andrea Atzeni and the response was quite immediate, with the Mastercraftsman colt lengthening to stretch emphatically clear in the closing stages, beating Johann Strauss by four and a half lengths as the 7-2 favourite.
Altruistic was third for trainer-jockey Johnny Murtagh, but the well-fancied Century was one of the first one of the market principals to be beaten.
Italian-born Atzeni, a rising star of the weighing room, said: "He's a dream horse to ride really, he settles and is so laid-back.
"He's a top-class horse and he's definitely the best I've been on so far."
Varian, who is finishing the season strongly having seen his stable hampered by a virus, said: "We were looking forward to what improvement there was from him and he's the first colt to win to win a Group One for us. It's been fillies before.
"He's always looked good and been a good mover. If you look at him, he's a great model.
"We have so many horses who can do special things at home but disappoint on the track. He looked good at home, but I tend to sit on the fence and be pessimistic.
"Until they do it on the track I won't hype a horse up.
"We thought he might make his debut earlier, but the horses weren't right in August. What is encouraging is what he's done in six weeks and he has the shape to be better next year.
"We'll have to see how he winters and what he's like in the spring. People have said is he a 10-furlong, mile-and-a-half horse, but he has the pace for a mile and travels so well.
"He has good acceleration and will be in everything. We'll have a good eye on the Guineas. Whether he runs before or goes straight there or bypasses the Guineas we'll have to wait and see."
Ladbrokes cut Kingston Hill to 8-1 from 20s for the 2000 Guineas, while Paddy Power went 10-1 about his chance in the Guineas and Derby.
David Williams for Ladbrokes said: "Kingston Hill confirmed his reputation as a genuine first-rate colt but we're happy to keep our counsel regarding Epsom dreams for the time being. We see him more of a Guineas horse given his breeding and smart turn of foot."
Aidan O'Brien said of the runner-up: "We were delighted with Johann Strauss. Century (last) couldn't walk in the ground and Buonarroti (fifth) ran well for a long way."
Murtagh said of Altruistic: "He finished well and has been going so well at home. We knew he'd run a good race.
"We're just disappointed the ground ended up so soft, he's a horse that will appreciate better ground. He'll get a mile and a half next year no problem. He's a horse to look forward to."