Don Cantillon’s veteran turns 13 in a few days’ time and looked to face a tall order heading down the back straight as Tom Queally was hard at work and giving him reminders.
Having drawn level with Stand Guard on 26 wins back in January, he has had four previous attempts at making the record his own.
Notoriously fragile, most of his wins have come in claiming and selling grade and he was running off a career-low mark of 70 on this occasion.
Brought wide into the straight, he wore down Northside Prince, forging to a length-and-a-half success at odds of 5-1.
Cantillon said: ‘‘I’m absolutely over the moon and it’s all about the horse.
“I’ve had three glasses of champagne and I’m high on what he’s done.
“When he ran at Southwell last time, halfway through the race I was thinking it might be time to call it a day, but he came home well to finish fourth and we said we’d give him another go.
“It was the same today. At halfway I was thinking retirement could be on the cards, but then he did what he did and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“He had every excuse to get beaten today. He was slowly away and things didn’t go his way, but he’s just an exceptionally tough horse.
“He’s 13 in a few days – he’s an old man in human terms – but he just loves his racing and loves Southwell.
“It’s the toughest all-weather track in the country and a real grind in the straight, but it brings out the best in him.
“I’ve had a few nice horses, but he is the most amazing animal I’ve ever laid my hands on. “If he was a boxer, you wouldn’t want to take him on.”
Cantillon is keen to let the dust settle before deciding whether La Estrella will race on.
“We’ll get him on the horse-box and take him home and follow the same old routine,” said the Newmarket-based trainer.
“It’s all about the horse and we’ll just wait and see how he is.”