Alenquer showed plenty of guts and determination in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown to give Tom Marquand a nice winner on his first ride back since a successful spell in Australia.
Trained by William Haggas, the son of Alderflug had won on his debut at Newbury last season before finishing second in a Listed race at Haydock.
Rather ignored in the market as a 25-1 chance, Marquand brought his mount alongside the pace-setting Yibir a long way out, although to his credit Charlie Appleby’s charge found a second wind.
The pair were involved in a protracted battle, but just as it seemed Alenquer had seen Yibir off once and for all, his stablemate Adayar began to thrown down a challenge having made up plenty of ground.
Alenquer won by half a length, with a neck back to Yibir in third. Lone Eagle was fourth.
The winner holds an entry in the Dante at York, but is not currently in the Cazoo Derby.
Marquand said: “It’s a great feeling knowing you can come back and jump aboard a horse like this, who showed much of what you would hope to see from a Derby hope.
“He had form in the soft and there was a bit of juice in the ground today which helped him.
“He looks like a horse that will have no trouble getting further as he stays this stiff 10 furlongs well and was wandering about in front.
“It was nice to see a little bit of improvement from him in a race that will have tightened and sharpened him up.”
Haggas will now consider his options with the winner, including whether to add him to the premier Classic.
The Newmarket handler – who won the Derby in 1996 with Shaamit – said: “I thought he did it well, but I think it paid to be handy. I thought the second did well to finish where he did considering where he came from. He had been working nicely with some older horses and I thought he was ready to run.
“I was a bit surprised by the price he was, but it was different ground to last season as he ran on soft both times. But he seemed to enjoy it out there.
“He hit the line well and I think he will be seen to better effect over a mile and a half. It is terrific that Tom had a winner on his first ride back and I’m thrilled to bits for him.
“All options are open. He could be supplemented for the Derby, but he is also in the German Derby. We will just regroup and see how he is as I’m not quite sure where he will go yet.”