Withhold has enhanced his Melbourne Cup prospects with an all-the-way win in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.
Absent since he won the Cesarewitch in impressive fashion in October, the Roger Charlton-trained five-year-old overcame his long absence in the style of a classy stayer.
Robert Winston was able to dictate the race from the front and supporters of the 5-1 favourite barely had an anxious moment.
Owned by Brighton football club chairman Tony Bloom, Withold beat Prince Of Arran by 2-3/4 lengths in the two-mile (3200m) race.
“The form of the Cesarewitch was well franked, Charlton said.
“I guess in hindsight the handicapper could have put him up a little bit more. He will obviously go up another 10lb or so, I guess, but he is a nice horse.
“I’ve got to check the conditions of getting into the Melbourne Cup, but that is the long-term aim.
“Depending on what we need to do to qualify, he will probably do the minimum before we go to Australia. I’m not going to run him all summer, as the target is the Melbourne Cup.”