King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett) wins the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group I) for owners Amo Racing and trainer Roger Varian.
Sent off the 3/1 favourite for the showpiece on British Champions Day, King Of Steel and Frankie Dettori on his final ride at Ascot before retirement lifted the roof on the famous grandstand.
Held-up in last on the inside, the pair still held that position as the field straightened for home and had to swing wide in the straight to launch a challenge.
Via Sistina, who had shared last place for much of the contest, had hit the front by the time King Of Steel found his stride and Oisin Murphy and George Boughey must have believed that they were about to pull off a famous success.
It wasn’t to be, though, as King Of Steel gradually wore down the leader, running on powerfully to win by three quarters of a length. French challenger Horizon Dore was a further two lengths adrift in third.
Varian said: “He’s a good horse, isn’t he? And a tough horse. He’s run great all year. He’s done well to come from the back. Very tough. Good performance. Good ride, good effort by all the team.
“He’s a very agile horse – I don’t think his size has stopped him; I think the ground is hard for all of them. Big engine, big set of lungs – he’s got to the line, hasn’t he? Big heart, big effort.”
King Of Steel was purchased as a yearling for $200,000 in Keeneland on behalf of connections.