Godolphin has had to wait until the twilight of the season to register a first European Group One with Charming Thought coming to the rescue in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Big-name runners in the royal blue silks have been conspicuous by their absence, and it was hardly the most expected time for the drought to end, with Richard Hannon-trained Ivawood the well-supported favourite.
For most of the six furlongs (1200m), the race looked as if it would be a fourth consecutive victory for the 1-2 market leader as he cruised along under Richard Hughes, but he failed to quell the final challenge of William Buick and 22-1 chance Charming Thought, who stuck his nose in front on the line.
“It’s great to get my first Group One in England out of the way,” trainer Charlie Appleby said.
“He’s a horse we’ve held in high regard from the spring onwards.
“He just met with a setback in the spring, so we had to be patient with him and it’s prevailed now.
“It was a bold decision by his Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) to supplement him on Saturday.
“He’d be one of the sharper two-year-olds, but a lot have three-year-old pedigrees and that’s the way we have treated them.
“We are in a rebuilding process and this is one of the blocks that we hope we can build upon.”