Red Verdon registered a 10th career success when coming from last to first in the Coral Marathon at Sandown.
Second in the Grand Prix de Paris at his peak, Ed Dunlop’s eight-year-old is not quite the force of old – but he has been a consistent performer in races like this down the years.
While he had been without a win since a ParisLongchamp Group Two last July, he signalled a return to form when second at York last time out.
Anchored at the rear of the four-runner field by Ryan Moore, the 8-1 outsider came there strongly two out and went on to register victory by a length and a half.
“I’m delighted. He’s probably won a stakes race every year and with the greatest respect to the others I thought his price was quite insulting,” said Dunlop.
“The ground is on the slow side and he’s proven that he can handle this hill and conditions like this.
“I did think we were in trouble at one stage, but they went quite hard and stopped a little in front.
“We were in the Northumberland Plate, but chose not to go for that and come here. There is the option of the Silver Cup at York next week, but he’ll have to be in exceptional form to run back so quick.
“His optimum trips are two miles and a mile-six. He’s in the Ebor, so we’ll consider that.”
Sonny Liston upstaged hot favourite Dukedom with a wide-margin victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes.
The latter was a 5-6 shot to make a winning debut in the colours of the Queen under Frankie Dettori.
However, John and Thady Gosden’s charge was briefly caught in a pocket and hung slightly under pressure once he did get in the clear – ultimately having to make do with the runner-up spot.
The Charlie Hills-trained Sonny Liston was 18-1 in the hands of Marco Ghiani, but it was impossible to be anything but impressed by the way he stretched five and a half lengths clear under hand driving.
Hills said: “That was encouraging. I haven’t really trained him completely for today, so it’s a nice surprise.
“He was very green before the race, but as soon as the jockey got on he seemed to concentrate a bit more. He looks exciting.
“I don’t know what next, you have to think maybe Goodwood after winning a Sandown maiden like that.”
Hughie Morrison’s Vino Victrix (11-2) relished the step up in trip to a mile and three-quarters in the Davies Group Handicap, winning by a length and a quarter under Jason Watson.
“He was bought as a yearling to be a stayer and we’re finally getting there,” said Morrison.
“His first race last year he ran really well, but he’s basically disappointed since. We’ve always had faith in this horse.
“I didn’t really fancy him today at all as I thought the ground would be too quick.”
The Ed de Giles-trained Zlatan (9-2), ridden by Sophie Smith, won the Female Amateur Jockeys Handicap.