Utmost gamely made all of the running to take the 10-furlong £45,000 Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial on the Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Saturday.
The John Gosden-trained four-year-old was immediately sent to the front by jockey Robert Havlin and quickened strongly in the straight to beat 11/10 favourite Victory Bond — trained by William Haggas.
The victory guaranteed the Giant’s Causeway colt a place in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic — also at Lingfield.
Winning jockey Havlin said: “Utmost has been a late-maturing horse.
“I won on him at Leicester two years ago and we have just been waiting for him to strengthen up.
“It has taken forever and he is still not the finished article.
“This probably isn’t his track as it’s a bit sharp for him and he wants a galloping track, but he has taken a step forward mentally and I thought it that was the best way of riding him round here.”
Third place went the way of John Ryan’s 66-1 shot Battle Of Marathon.
Ryan said: “I am very pleased with Battle Of Marathon. We will see where we go now, but he is holding his own. He has filled out a bit and improved.”