Dual Guineas hero Gleneagles turned in a dominant performance in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old was a brilliant winner at Newmarket in early May and although he was not as visually impressive in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, he was the 8-15 favourite for his latest Group One test.
Consort, taking a big step up in class following a Listed-race victory at Sandown last month, was sent straight to the lead by Frankie Dettori, closely pursued by Andre Fabre’s French 2000 Guineas winner Make Believe.
Ryan Moore positioned Gleneagles in fourth place before asking him to close down the leaders early in the straight and the response was emphatic.
The son of Galileo showed thrilling acceleration to pick up Consort and he passed the post two and a half lengths clear under just hand driving.
Outsider Latharnach came through to beat Consort to the runner-up spot, with Aktabantay fourth and Make Believe a long last of the five runners.
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.”
Part-owner Michael Tabor said: “He’s just done everything we hoped he would, won every once bar one and got disqualified at Longchamp, but he’s special.
“There was talk about Epsom (running the Derby), but we weren’t tempted in the slightest.
“We’ll discuss what is next, we have so many options, it’s just exciting to have a horse of this calibre.”
O''Brien said: "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 gets warm all the time, that didn’t worry me, he’s a warm-blooded horse but takes everything in his stride.
“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.
“I’m a very small part of a very big team, I watch more than anything now, which makes it easier.”
Charlie Appleby said of the runner-up: “I’m delighted. William’s (Buick) given him a great ride.
“We purposely set our stall out to sit out the back door and let the race unfold in front of us.
“Today it was a learning curve about what level we can step up to and also the mile. He saw the mile out well there and he’s obviously shown a good level of ability.
“When you’re finishing second behind a horse that’s won two Guineas I’d be confident to take our chance in a Group One again for sure.
“It will certainly be an easier route if we can miss him (Gleneagles).”
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, owners of Consort, said: “It’s tough to make all.
“For a moment when Frankie kicked I thought we had, but it was a very encouraging run.
“We’ll see how he is before we decide where to go from here.”
On immediate plans, O’Brien revealed a mouthwatering clash with Solow is on the cards in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
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.”