Former Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir showed he still has plenty of class when cosily taking the Listed Coral Marathon in the hands of William Buick at Sandown.
The Godolphin-owned five-year-old stepped up beyond a mile and a half for the first time when finishing sixth in the Ascot Gold Cup last time out, and dropped back to two miles here he took time to find his true rhythm.
With long-time leader Sleeping Lion beginning to fade, Buick tracked Aaddeey and made his move, switching around Hollie Doyle’s before drawing clear for a three-and-a-half-length success.
With trainer Charlie Appleby absent, assistant Alex Merriam said: “If you watch him in his races, he can come off the bridle early.
“He still showed a bit of class and there is still an engine there.
“I think if you went straight to Goodwood, you would not know whether he stayed or not. I think he’s seen it out well enough there, but whether we go two (miles) or a mile and six (furlongs), we’ll get him home and see how he is.
“There are a few options for him. Charlie mentioned maybe we will go back to a mile and six. Two miles is an option. He’s got his head in front and there are no big plans.
“He could go aboard. He’s been to America, but I only spoke briefly to Charlie.
“He is a proper horse and owes no one anything. It is just nice for the horse to get his head in front again.”
After unsaddling from the winner, who was sent off the 1-3 favourite, Buick said: “One I got him back in, I got into a lovely rhythm and he was taking me the whole way.
“The pace was even the whole way, so he could have come from anywhere in the race.
“I thought he built into the race lovely and when I asked him, he picked up well.
“I would say two miles is the absolute maximum of how far he’d want to go and we could easily come back to a mile and six.
“He warms into his races and sometimes it looks great and sometimes it just doesn’t work. Today we just got the balance right and he was entitled to win in that company.”
Appleby later pointed to the Irish St Leger as the big target for his winner.
“I’m delighted to see Yibir get his head back in front there. It was a good ride by William,” he said.
“It was always our plan to hold him up and use that turn of foot we have seen in the past.
“Talking to William afterwards, he said that was his maximum trip.
“The likelihood is we will look towards an Irish St Leger trial and then on to the Irish St Leger.”