Al Aasy lunged late to secure a last-gasp victory in the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.
Beaten only a neck by Pyledriver in the 2021 Coronation Cup at Epsom, the William Haggas-trained six-year-old has since been gelded and an Ascot Listed win was his only appearance of last season.
He was tailed off on his return to action at Newmarket, but bounced back to winning ways at Newbury three weeks later and he was a 6-5 favourite to follow up at Group Three level on Merseyside.
Ridden by Jim Crowley, Al Aasy was settled at the rear of the field for much of 10-furlong journey before being produced with a withering late run.
He had had to dig deep in the closing stages to reel in El Drama, but got up in the dying strides to prevail by a neck. Midnight Mile was almost three lengths further back in third.
Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He was good today, both horse and jockey were good. Jim said he was cool throughout and it just fell apart in front of him a bit, so the horse had to work. To his credit he did and he got there.
“He’s had his ups and downs, but he’s always been a talented horse and I think bringing him back to a mile and a quarter has been a good thing. He travels through the race well and he really looked like he was enjoying himself today.
“He’s been perhaps unfairly criticised, but since we’ve had him gelded we’ve never really classed him as ungenuine. He’s been a bit unfortunate once or twice, though before he was gelded he was definitely thinking about other things and since it has helped him.
“Next steps are for William to work out. He’s won Group Three races before and he’s been competitive at Group One level before and although he’s old he’s a bit like Hamish in that he hasn’t got many miles on the clock.”