In what was perceived as perhaps his toughest assignment to date, the winner of both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas passed the test in flying colours to score with a genuine air of authority.
Frankie Dettori, riding the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Consort, hatched a plan to try and expose any chinks in the 8-15 favourite’s stamina by setting a good early tempo, as Ryan Moore positioned the eventual winner in fourth.
There was little change in the order as the field swung for home, before Dettori pressed the ’go’ button aboard Consort in his bid to put the mile showpiece to bed.
Although finding for pressure, his move was not to be a race-winning one as Moore wound his mount up to motor past the long-time leader hitting the furlong pole.
Once in the clear the son of Galileo was not for catching, only needing to pushed out by the three-times champion jockey to register a two-and-a-half-length victory.
It was first for O’Brien since the triumph of Mastercraftsman in 2009.
The Charlie Appleby-trained outsider Latharnach ran the race of his life to snatch second on the line from Consort.
French 2000 Guineas hero Make Believe, having been supplemented at a cost of £35,000, was the major disappointment, trailing home a well-beaten last of the quintet.
O’Brien said: “I don’t think I have ever had a miler as good as him. He is a very classy horse.
“He has been vital this year. He is a star horse.
“We’re delighted, obviously, the lads and lasses at home all said he was the best he’d been. We trained him hard for Newmarket, were easy on him before the Curragh and they said yesterday this was the best he was.
“He reminds me of Giant’s Causeway, but he’s got more speed than him, he was a grinder while this lad quickens.
“He’s the best in the yard at the minute and the best miler we’ve ever had.
“I’m surprised he won by two and a half lengths as he usually pulls up in front.”
As ever keen to play down his role, O’Brien said: “I’m a very small part of a very big team, I watch more than anything now, which makes it easier.
“I’m getting older now and the younger lads are coming on. I’m watching more and going with the flow. I’m 45 now and it’s great to see younger people coming along and taking responsiblity and the pressure. So many people make it happen.I only look on – I just stand at the top of the gallops and watch the work, which is good for me and a lot less pressure.”
O’Brien indicated the brilliant three-year old is likely to be seen out next in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, which could see him clash with Queen Anne Stakes winner Solow.
He said: “If he gets good, fast ground then he’ll go to Goodwood as that was always the plan if he did well today.
“I don’t think 10 furlongs would be a problem if that day does come.”
Equally complimentary about the performance was Moore, who was celebrating a first St James’s Palace success.
Moore said: “He’s got a very good turn of foot this horse.
“It was a muddling race, a bit messy early and Frankie got his own way in front but he made up three lengths there. “He’s just a pleasure to ride and I think he’s getting better.
“He wasn’t stopping there, I wasn’t getting serious with him, it was hands and heels, I was delighted with him.
“He’s a proper horse, you want to ride the best horses and he’s about the best of his generation.
“He could get a little further but he has plenty of pace and there’s no real need, I’m sure plans will be made later on.
Meanwhile Washington DC provided Ryan Moore with his third winner on the opening day in a pulsating Windsor Castle Stakes.
Moore’s final mount of the afternoon was well fancied at 5-1 after winning once at Tipperary and finishing second on his other two starts for Aidan O’Brien.
American challenger Ruby Notion set a blistering early pace, but Washington DC swept by her in the last of five furlongs and just had enough in the tank to hold off the fast-finishing Areen by a head.
Steady Pace, the 4-1 favourite, was third.
Moore said: “I’m delighted with him, he’s a very fast colt. We probably could have gone with the American horse if I’d let him, but I wanted a lead for a bit longer. He had a little look around when he was left in front, but I’d say there’s plenty more to come.
“He’s got an awful lot of pace. He’d probably get six, but at this stage there’s no real need.”