Spanish Mission looked a bona fide St Leger contender as he powered clear of his field to record an authoritative victory in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy Stakes at Newmarket.
The 2019 Moet & Chandon July Festival got underway with this St Leger Trial over 13 furlongs, which attracted a field of nine.
Severance and Kerrin McEvoy stormed into a 25-length lead, whilst the rest of the field bided its time.
The writing was on the wall for the long-time leader and at the two-furlong pole, Nayef Road went on.
The Mark Johnston runner fleetingly looked like he might have done enough, having built up a lead, but Spanish Mission and Jamie Spencer delivered their challenge to the outside and went on around the furlong pole.
The David Simcock runner looked stamina laden as he drew clear for a superb success, with Nayef Road a gallant second and Nate The Great coming home third.
Simcock said: “He did everything properly and showed some nice ‘gearage’, if that is a word.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see a race get so fragmented when a horse goes off like that but I like the way he travelled and then found, over a furlong further than before.
“Because his owners are American, we were thinking about the Belmont
on September 7, it’s a 1m4f million dollar race, and we didn’t put him in the Leger because we were thought we were going down the Belmont route, but we’ll have to have a rethink now.
“Earl Mack loves English racing so we’ll have to see. We would have to supplement him for the Leger now as we’ve missed the entries.
“We wouldn’t find out too much about him at home so everything he does at home is quietly quietly, he can only do what is in front of him, and he needed to step up on what he did at Goodwood to win this – which he did.”
Winning jockey Jamie Spencer said: “They got racing a long way out but he stayed well. He stays 1m4f fine but he’s not slow and this race worked out nicely. I didn’t want to get there too soon.”