Toronado got Royal Ascot 2014 off to a flying start for favourite backers with an impressive win in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Despite making his first competitive appearance since August of last year, Richard Hannon's four-year-old was all the rage for the Group One contest as the 4-5 favourite and was ridden confidently by Richard Hughes.
Just for a moment he appeared in trouble as the response was not immediate once Hughes popped the question, but Toronado gradually found top gear in the final furlong and was ultimately well on top at the line.
Verrazano was three-quarters of a length away in second, with strong-travelling French raider Anodin back in third.
"Hughesie loves this horse, the confidence going into the race was scary" - Harry Herbert
Toronado enjoyed an excellent three-year-old campaign, running well in defeat in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last year before clinching his first Group One in a thrilling Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
He disappointed on his final start of 2013 in York's Juddmonte International, but connections were bullish in the weeks leading up to his return and were proved right as Toronado showed off his superb turn of foot to seal victory.
Aidan O'Brien's American recruit Verrazano ran a creditable third behind Toronado's stable companion Olympic Glory in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month on his European debut and although he took another step forward, it was not quite enough.
Freddy Head's Anodin, carrying the colours of brilliant 2010 Queen Anne heroine Goldikova, travelled better than anything for much of the journey.
Although he could not match the finishing effort of the front two, he still justified the decision of his connections to supplement him for the race, picking up minor honours in third.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani's Al Shaqab Racing operation, said of the winner: "It's so exciting. I'm thrilled to bits for everyone involved. It's a great piece of training from Richard Hannon and his team.
"Hughesie loves this horse, the confidence going into the race was scary.
"If there was an issue it was he hadn't run for 300 days, which is a long time off in this sort of competition."