Space Blues made his class tell as he claimed a cosy victory in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.
A Group One winner last term, Space Blues had claimed a big-money prize in Saudi Arabia earlier in the year – but subsequently disappointed on Dubai World Cup night and was given a break until reappearing at Goodwood.
Fourth on his return, Space Blues had clearly taken a big step forward for the outing and was travelling supremely well with two furlongs to go as early leader Lord Of The Lodge dropped away quickly.
William Buick had to get to work on the Charlie Appleby-trained winner in the final furlong, as stablemate Glorious Journey and the admirable Highfield Princess tried to peg him back, but Space Blues had the required extra in reserve to prevail by a length and a half as the 11-8 favourite.
Highfield Princess just edged out Glorious Journey by a neck for the runner-up spot.
Buick said: “That was ideal for him. He settled well, which he does do now in his races. The loose ground on top was a bit of an unknown. It’s shifting a little bit underneath them.
“He was struggling a bit early on and then when he changed gear and lowered himself, he really found his stride. It was a good performance and in many ways it was what we wanted to see from him.
“He ran so well in the Lennox at Goodwood on very soft ground and the race didn’t work out the way we hoped it would. He came on for that and it was nice to see him do that.
“Six and a half furlongs and seven is his trip. A stiff six on good or softer ground might suit him.
“We’ll see where he goes next but I don’t think we’ll be trying to change too much in distance.
“He might work into a Foret horse on Arc weekend or something like that.”