St Nicholas Abbey put up a magnificent performance to land the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan under an inspired Joseph O'Brien ride, completing a magnificent double for trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Second 12 months ago, his young rider was keen to have him handy from the off as he sat on the heels of Shareta, with much-vaunted Japanese mare Gentildonna keen through the early stages on his outside.
O'Brien junior opted to kick on entering the straight and while Gentildonna gave chase, she never quite looked like she would get there and in the end was well-held by the O'Brien-trained winner.
Recording his first winner on Dubai World Cup night, O'Brien junior was quick to salute a horse who has also given him success at the Breeders' Cup.
He said: "I felt I was a little bit unlucky last year and just got going a bit late, I was doing all my best work coming to the line.
"There didn't seem much pace on paper and Mr (Derrick) Smith in particular just said that after last year to ride him a bit more forward and see what happens.
"I knew my lad is tough and he tries hard.
"He is very special, he gives his best every day and is a great ride. He relaxes and he quickens, he tries hard and you can't ask for more."
O'Brien senior added: "I always felt this horse wanted to be ridden back a little bit, but Joseph and Derrick were always very much of the other mind, so obviously they got their way today and what they said was right.
"He's more mature now and he proved today you can ride him any way you want.
"The lads have worked him out now better than I have. There's not many miles on the clock so he's hopefully going to be a very exciting horse."
The victory completed a double for the winning trainer, who earlier landed the UAE Derby for the second consecutive year when Ryan Moore steered Lines Of Battle to victory over compatriot Elleval.
Just 12 months on from O'Brien's win in the race with Daddy Long Legs, Moore made a positive move off a slow early pace to track Snowboarder into the straight.
Lines Of Battle kicked a couple of lengths clear but David Marnane's Elleval emerged from the pack as his most serious challenger.
He could never get on terms, though, and Lines Of Battle was a decisive winner. Snowboarder clung on for third.
O'Brien said: "He doesn't like being in front too soon, but he quickened well and stayed well in the end. Ryan gave him a great ride."
Victory in the Group Two event earned Lines Of Battle significant points under the qualification criteria for the Kentucky Derby, and O'Brien confirmed: "Absolutely, that (Kentucky Derby) was the plan coming here."
Moore said: "It was a farce of a race, they went so slow and I was saying to Hughesie (Richard Hughes, on Law Enforcement) down the back that this was too easy and one of the problems was that my horse is idle.
"But he'd won around Dundalk and had a US pedigree, experience of travelling and the draw helped."