Turning for home the 1-2 favourite looked to have it all to do, with more horses in front of him than behind in the mile-and-a-quarter contest as early leader Complicit looked to have stolen a winning march on the field.
However, when called upon for a maximum effort the four-year-old, winner of the Winter Derby over course and distance last time out, responded in style to sail past those in front and collar Complicit in final few strides, getting up by a ready three-quarters of a length.
In doing so he completed the final leg of a treble for trainer Charlie Appleby and the second part of a double for William Buick.
Appleby said: “He is a proper horse. I knew he would find as he some engine, but I thought the leader had got a good march over us.
“It gave us something to aim at. I am sure he could put this form forward on the turf as well. The time he was beaten at Newmarket in July he went wrong and that was why he had time off, which has done him the power of good.”
Appleby refused to be drawn on summer targets for the Shamardal gelding, saying: “If I am brutally honest we will take it race by race – I don’t want to make any bold statements. We will just sit down and map out a plan for him.”
While future plans are yet to be decided for Tryster, a trip to Royal Ascot could be on the cards for Pretend following his win in the Unibet All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes.
Ridden more prominently than usual, the Buick-ridden 6-5 favourite swept past long-time leader Chookie Royale deep inside the final furlong of the six-furlong contest before going on to hold last year’s winner Alben Star by a length.
Appleby said: “I am delighted with the horse. He is a horse we felt that six furlongs would put him more in his comfort zone. He jumped out and travelled well in the box seat and William gave him a peach of a ride.
“We will give him a break now, like we will with all of the horses running today, then we may look towards Royal Ascot.”
Four Seasons left his rivals for dead after benefiting from an expert front-running ride in the 32Red All-Weather 3 Year Old Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.
Always in command of matters in the hands of Adam Kirby, the 6-1 shot reversed form with Lexington Times to come home a length and a quarter ahead of Tempus Temporis.
Appleby said: “We knew there was no pace in the race and we knew that was what had undone the horse last time. He has won a couple of times here over the winter and I think that has made a difference as well.
“He is by Dubawi and they will go on anything, so there is no reason why he can’t be Listed or Group Three level on the grass. He is very versatile and he could also be dropped back in trip.”
Grey Mirage provided Marco Botti with a timely boost when coming with a sustained late run to gain compensation for his defeat on the card 12 months ago with a win in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.
The Newmarket handler, who has recently had a horse from his yard test positive for the equine disease strangles on his return from Dubai, was seen celebrating after the six-year old went three places better than when sent off favourite in the inaugural running of the contest.
Despite being keen early on, the 13-2 chance got all the right splits in the hands of Ryan Moore to get the first run and beat favourite Sovereign Debt by a neck, with the latter looking unfortunate.
Botti said: “It was a great performance and a perfect ride, what more can you say when you have this man on board?
“Even watching the race, everything was going his way, he got him relaxed and if he got the splits, which he did, I knew he could win.”
Pia Brandt is plotting another raid at the track next month with Fresles after the filly gifted the French trainer a first winner in England after making every yard of the running in the 32Red.com All-Weather Fillies’ and Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.
Showing good pace on exiting the stalls, the four-year-old demonstrated a willing attitude in the seven-furlong contest to repel both the late challenges of Don’t Be and eventual runner-up Lamar by a fast-diminishing neck.
Brandt said: “ not my last. Everything went as we hoped. She likes being in front and not being crowded up.”