Champion jockey-elect Ryan Moore lifted his first Group One prize as he led home a Sir Michael Stoute one-two aboard Notnowcato in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York yesterday.
Despite being a country mile clear in the race for the riders' title, Moore had never previously tasted success at the highest level but broke his duck when getting the better of a thrilling battle with Maraahel.
The 22-year-old was always handy on the 8-1 shot and chased the front-running Cherry Mix into the home straight.
Moore then set his mount alight two furlongs out but was joined inside the distance by Richard Hills and Maraahel (9-1), and the pair battled hammer and tongs to the line, with Notnowcato landing the spoils by a short head.
Stoute's pair pulled three lengths clear of Blue Monday, who had runaway Irish Derby winner and 5-6 favourite Dylan Thomas three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
After netting the £500,000 race, Moore said: "It's a relief to win a race like this. I have gone close in Group Ones before, like in the Nunthorpe and I have wanted to win one. I thought I'd held on as we crossed the line but Richard thought he'd got up.
"The ground is a bit sticky and I went to the front a bit earlier than I would have liked but I thought once I'd got him going, there was no point stopping."
Stoute, who last landed the International in 1997 with Singspiel, said: "The horses have been running well but we just haven't been winning as many races as we would have liked.
"Watching it wasn't too bad, as I knew it was going to be one of mine, so it was quite enjoyable for a change!
"Maraahel ran a tremendous race and I thought he had actually got up when I watched the race live, but I wasn't so sure watching the replay.
"It was always the aim to come here after running in the Eclipse and we will have to go for another Group One race now. He will probably go for the Champion Stakes at Newmarket next."
Hills was on board Maraahel 12 months ago when he took third in the same race and the jockey said: "I thought I'd just got it on the line, but the result went the wrong way.
"The horse sat down in the stalls just before they opened, but that didn't make any difference. He's done it before and you've just got to hope that he's not sitting down when they open."
Roger Charlton was full of praise for Coral-Eclipse third Blue Monday, adding: "I'm delighted, he's run a fantastic race."
Dylan Thomas had run free in the early stages and was in trouble some way from home under Mick Kinane.
Aidan O'Brien's charge did stay on inside the last couple of furlongs but O'Brien said: "It was a very slow pace and he was very fresh early on. He's a good-moving horse but we will just take him home."