New Mandate needed to be brave under Frankie Dettori to gain a narrow verdict over Laneqash in the bet365 Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.
Ralph Beckett’s youngster was trapped on the rail as Jim Crowley brought Laneqash with what appeared to be a race-winning run on his outside.
Dettori held his ground, however, and New Mandate’s greater experience proved vital as he battled back tight against the rail to win by a head at 17-2.
“It was very tight,” said Dettori, who rides Irish Derby hero Santiago for Aidan O’Brien in the St Leger on Saturday.
“I’m delighted, because Marc Chan is a new owner and a friend of mine from Hong Kong.
“This is his first year in racing. I was second (short-head, on Valeria Messalina) at Glorious Goodwood for him, and (now) I’ve managed to get my first winner for him – so I’m delighted.
“I know he’s watching in Hong Kong – well done, good start.
“He’s a very tough horse and it was a good race – he did it the hard way, but we’ve done it.”
He added: “He showed a lot of courage. Ralph said he was very pleased with him at home – I’m delighted for connections. Well done, Ralph.”
Roger Varian’s Apparate (5-1) returned to his best form, and continued a fine St Leger Festival so far for winning jockey David Egan, in the bet365 Mallard Handicap.
Egan, twice a winner on day two of Doncaster’s big meeting, outgunned 2-1 favourite Alfaatik by three-quarters of a length.
“The boss gave me free rein – he said there was going to be no pace, don’t take him back,” said Egan.
“Riding for Mr Varian, he fills you with lots of confidence beforehand.
“He got a lovely run through, and picked up the last furlong. Then he really stuck his head down and stuck it out well – which was nice to see.
“Fitness-wise, he’ll probably come on for that, and he’s definitely a progressive horse with a nice future.
“He won a Lavazza Handicap at Ascot last year, so he’s a top-class horse, and I hope he can go on from here.”
Ray Dawson is another jockey currently in prime form, and he extended it with a fine ride to win the bet365 Handicap on David Loughnane’s Tranchee.
The 7-2 second-favourite was always prominent and led inside the final furlong, beating Sunset Breeze and favourite Ghalyoon by half a length and a neck.
Dawson made good use of his reconnaissance, having found the long Doncaster straight testing his own stamina when he ran the track before racing.
On four legs, however, he had the necessary reserves.
“Watching his last few runs, the races collapsed on heavy ground, and he got left out in front a little bit long,” he said.
“I ran (the track) earlier on, and I thought the last furlong felt long. But it’s even longer when you’re on a horse and you’re hitting the front – it’s a long way home, with a headwind and a crosswind as well.
“But I didn’t feel it too much today, thank God.”
Sorrel just got the better of her tussle with Albaflora in the opening British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap, for Sir Michael Stoute and William Buick.
Stoute’s Almareekh, chasing a four-timer, was sent off the 5-4 favourite but was well held in fourth of five as her stablemate instead came out on top by a head at 2-1.
Buick expects continued improvement, perhaps up in trip, after Sorrel’s second successive victory.
“She’s a lovely, staying filly – and she’ll get further,” said the winning jockey.
“She’s really put her head down, she’s tough.
“I liked her – she feels like she’s still learning, and there’s still improvement in her.”
Buick, who sat off the pace before hitting the front in the last furlong, was always confident he had things in hand.
“She went through the gears nicely,” he added.
“When she came off the bridle, she always kept picking up.
“She didn’t win by far, but I always did feel I was going to hold on.”
Stoute completed a first and last-race double – and Crowley warmed up with a victory before his big-race ride on Hukum in the St Leger – when 11-10 favourite Tawaareq prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the Gary Reid Memorial Maiden Stakes.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s well-bred colt was one of only three in the 10-strong field of juveniles with previous race experience, having finished fifth on his Sandown debut last month.
Tawaareq was still very fresh, but Crowley’s patience was eventually rewarded with a decisive success from 9-1 shot Cordouan.
The winning jockey said: “He got a bit warm before the race. He owed me that (win), because he dropped me at the start!
“But he’s got plenty of ability – he just needs to settle down.”
The rangy Tawaareq has an early 2021 Derby entry, and Crowley confirmed he is a long-term project.
“We went steady, then sprinted, so he could be okay,” he added.
“It will be all about next year really.”