Stratum gave Willie Mullins a fourth success in the Queen Alexandra Handicap, as the nine-year-old secured successive renewals of Royal Ascot finale.
The 7-4 favourite Wordsworth set the pace under Ryan Moore – who rode Stratum 12 months ago – but he did not see the marathon trip out and was a spent force with a furlong to race as both Calling The Wind and Reshoun threw down the gauntlet inside the final furlong.
Yet the Tony Bloom-owned Stratum (10-1), who was first off the bridle under William Buick, showed guts aplenty to sluice past both in the final 300 yards, giving the rider his fifth winner of the week.
In the end, the partnership had a length to spare from Reshoun with Calling The Wind a head further behind in third.
Mullins said: “Towards the end it was just a case of William finding the gaps and coming through horses, but in all honesty his last piece of work didn’t suggest he would do that.
“It wasn’t as good as I’d expected, but when I saw him before the race in his box he looked like a horse that had enjoyed a few days away.
“That’s put his novice chase campaign on hold and I think he will keep running in staying races on the Flat.”
Buick said: “He won the race last year, and Willie said to me before the race, pick one horse off at a time, fill him with confidence and he’ll finish well. Once I switched him inside and I got the run, and the others were probably stopping a little bit, he really motored home.
“Obviously he’s a good, tough horse and stays this trip. He loves this (race) – it’s an extreme distance and he’s proven over it.”