Tom Marquand was at his brilliant best as Quickthorn repelled all challengers in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park.
The jockey opted to be wide of runners down the middle of the track in the very early stages, with Thunderous and Nate The Great on the rail, before he took the outright lead in the two-mile affair aboard the 11-4 favourite.
Hughie Morrison’s five-year-old – who had given Princess Zoe a real fright in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot – was strongly pressed by Hollie Doyle and Nate The Great, but refused to buckle and was a length and three-quarters to the good at the line.
Rodrigo Diaz was another three-quarters of a length back in third, with Thunderous fourth.
Morrison said: “Tom said the ground was quick enough for him today. He was not enjoying it going down the hill. I think the autumn is his life. On that performance, it is worth going to the top level again, but we didn’t put him in the Gold Cup. My error – but I’m not sure it is, as there is a the likelihood of fast ground.
“He loved the ground at Ascot last year when he won and I doubt we will get that ground anyhow.
“The idea was to go forward and follow one, but he was out in front enjoying himself.
“I wasn’t enjoying any second of that from a furlong and a half. It was a great effort by him. What a horse!
“He is a lovely homebred by Lady Blyth.”
On potential plans, Morrison said: “The Cadran might be a possible. We had a go at the Royal Oak last year, but he had ulcers last year and lost his form at the end of the season. This season we have apparently got that under control and I think he is still improving.
“He had most of his three-year-old career off. He got a bit jarred up as a three-year-old and his owners made a brave decision – we turned him out for six months.
“We did the same to Telecaster and look what happened to him when he came back. It is so nice that people can have these homebred horses and can take them home and turn them out.
“Last year went fantastically well until October and it hasn’t gone badly this year.
“We were not really going to go to Nottingham when he got beaten by Trueshan. Trueshan looks the best, but we are improving and it is a good division at the moment.
“We would have to supplement for the Gold Cup – it is an even bigger call – but we will enjoy this and make a plan.
“Tom said that in the right conditions, he is right up there and we should have a go at the top level.”
He quipped: “We still have the Stayers’ Hurdle. But he’s not slow. Actually, the Champion Hurdle.
“But he won’t be going to the Gold Cup – he has had a hard enough race there.”