Last season’s Champion Stayer, Stradivarius, set down a marker for a similar campaign, with victory in the Group Two Matchbook Yorkshire Cup at York.
Eight went to post in this 1 ¾ mile contest.
From the gates it was Sevenna Star who cut out the running with Mildenberger and this pair soon went five lengths clear of Southern France.
The order remained the same but in the home straight, Southern France and Ryan Moore went on towards the stands side.
From further back, Frankie Dettori was rousting Stradivarius along and whilst he hit a flat spot, he began to stay on.
The five year-old gradually wore down Southern France and was on top and three quarters of a length clear at the line, with five lengths back to Mildenberger in third.
Winning trainer John Gosden said: “Stradivarius is the best stayer I’ve trained but he’s never going to go and win by five lengths and show off – that’s not his style.
“The season will map itself. We haven’t trained him hard for this and the Gold Cup is a different ball game over two and a half miles.
“The pace was slowed right down, which wasn’t ideal, but I liked the way he showed a bit of grit at the end and he was a little ring-rusty so should come forward.
“He’s not the polished, finished article but we hope to have that right at Royal Ascot.”