Stone Of Folca, described by John Best as the fastest horse he has ever trained, finally secured his first victory in the Duke Of Cumberland And Old Neptune Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Folkestone this afternoon.
The Kodiac colt, appropriately owned by Folkestone Racecourse Owners Group, showed up well in both the Windsor Castle Stakes and the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot as a juvenile, and ran the talented Zebedee close in the Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
He was well beaten off on his final start of the year in the Nunthorpe at York but this represented a huge drop in class on his return to action.
Facing just three rivals, the 1-8 favourite travelled strongly in the hands of Luke Morris and was coaxed to the front in the final furlong to beat Welsh Inlet by a very cosy half a length.
"Luke was very happy with how he did it, although I was getting a bit nervous with a furlong to go," said Best.
"He didn't really want to grab hold of him as he was quite buzzed up before the race and they didn't go quick enough for him at all. He'll be much better when they go a better pace in a better race.
"I just need to keep him calm but I would think, all being well, that he'll go to the Temple Stakes at Haydock next (May 21).
"I still think he's the fastest I've ever trained. Kingsgate Native won a Nunthorpe and a Golden Jubilee for me, but I think Stone Of Folca is quicker than him.
"He just needs to learn to relax in the preliminaries, but he's a much stronger horse at home this year.
"I'm hoping that he'll go for the Temple Stakes, the King's Stand and then back to York for the Nunthorpe. That would be the ideal scenario."
Best and Morris went on to complete a double on the card as 10-1 shot Mister Bit showed improvement fitted with blinkers for the first time in the Play Roulette At totesport.com Handicap.
The Dr Marwan Koukash-owned Gatepost looks a juvenile of promise after a most taking debut in the EBF McCloud Family Affair Maiden in the hands of Jamie Spencer.
Sent off a well backed 15-8 chance, Mick Channon's youngster began to stamp his authority heading inside the final furlong and passed the post with two and a quarter lengths in hand over Bayleyf without being fully extended.
The favourite, Chillie Billie, was a big disappointment.
Channon said: "This is a lovely colt and we'll look at the Lily Agnes at Chester which is Marwan's favourite track and was always the intention."
Victorian Bounty was a determined winner of the sterlingservice.co.uk Chauffeur Handicap.
The 5-2 favourite was strongly pressed by Rum King on the run to the line but pulled out all the stops under Micky Fenton for a neck victory.
Liberty Lady (5-2) made it two wins from as many course starts in the Play Blackjack At totesport.com Handicap, while the Play Poker At tspoker.com Handicap went to 11-8 favourite Rockfella and Kieren Fallon.