My Oberon just edged out San Andreas in a thrilling finish to the All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.
Trained by William Haggas and partnered by Tom Marquand, My Oberon was last seen finishing sixth in the Dubai Turf last month and ultimately just about made his class tell as the 13-8 favourite.
However, it was not as easy a victory as expected, with My Oberon made to pull out all the stops by Joseph O’Brien’s Irish raider.
Marquand settled him mount in behind as Tempus set the early gallop, with Dylan Browne McMonagle adopting a position on the stands side aboard San Andreas and taking over the lead at Tempus started to flag in the final two furlongs.
My Oberon appeared to be travelling well, with Marquand coming between the pair to challenge and grabbing the initiative.
But San Andreas proved game, getting back on terms with the pair locked in a duel to the line, with My Oberon just prevailing by a nose. Bless Him made notable progress after sitting last early on, eventually being beaten two and a quarter lengths in third.
The first two got close in the finish, prompting a stewards’ inquiry, but the result stood.
Haggas’ wife, Maureen, said: “It was a worry coming back so quick after Dubai, but this race was worth a lot of money and you can’t pass up opportunities like this.
“He’s probably not the easiest to place, so when you get an opportunity like this to win money with a gelding, you can’t turn it down – we had to give it a go.
“He can have a little break now. I don’t know where he’ll go – William will work that one out.
“Whether it will make more sense dodging Royal Ascot and going somewhere a bit easier, I don’t know – that’s not my department!
“He’s tough and I think gelding has definitely helped him.”
Marquand said: “He gave me a moment of fright – I thought I’d go and win by half a length when I took him off the bridle, but he knows how much he has to do and won’t do much more.
“He’s won and has done really well to win as he’s had a busy month, being in Dubai, which takes its toll.
“It’s a great training performance to get him here today and get his head in front because it’s a tough one to judge sometimes when horses are travelling.”