Set Piece came with a storming run to maintain his unbeaten record on the All-Weather in the £45,000 Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes (6.10pm) at Kempton Park this evening, Wednesday, November 20.
The mile Polytrack contest was a Fast-Track Qualifier and Set Piece is now guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championship Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.
Trained by Hugo Palmer and ridden by James Doyle, Set Piece had not raced since finishing seventh in a Listed race at Deauville in July, after which he was gelded and underwent a wind operation.
The Dansili three-year-old, homebred by owner Khalid Abdullah, was sent off a 16/1 chance tonight in a 12-strong field that featured G1 winners Accidental Agent (Eve Johnson-Houghton/Charlie Bishop, 12/1) and Librisa Breeze (Dean Ivory/Joey Haynes, 25/1).
Having been positioned in the final quartet for much of the race, Set Piece angled off the rail with two and a half furlongs remaining and had plenty to do as 5/6 favourite Khuzaam (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley) travelled strongly on the lead.
Khuzaam held a four-length advantage passing the furlong marker, but Set Piece continued to make eye-catching headway down the outside. As Khuzaam's petrol gauge emptied close home, Set Piece ran on strongly to nail his rival by short-head in the shadow of the post. Accidental Agent stayed on from the rear to take third, a further two lengths behind. The winning time was 1m 36.27s.
Set Piece, who finished third in the G3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April, is now unbeaten in three starts on the All-Weather, having also won mile novice races at Kempton Park and Newcastle.
Palmer said: "Set Piece is a horse I have always adored, but it has not been plain sailing with him.
"We had to top and tail him during the summer to help him out and it seems to have made a real difference.
"James was very pleased with him, particularly with the turn of foot he showed. I think he is a progressive, exciting horse and it is great to get him back on track.
"He has won three races from six starts, and is now a Listed winner having been G3-placed earlier in the year.
"There are a whole number of options open to him now and which route he takes will be down to Prince Khalid and his family."
Doyle added: "That was a good performance from Set Piece.
"It worked out tonight and he did it really well. He has been gelded and had a wind op since his last run, and we are delighted with tonight's performance.
"I wanted to sit a bit closer, because I thought on paper there was a lack of pace, but Set Piece is usually slowly away and I wasn't able to. We just took our medicine and when I pulled him out in the straight, I thought he did really well to win.
"I didn't think I was going to get there. I didn't even know I had won when I crossed the line, so it was a nice surprise.
"He has always shown us good form at home. Emma Clutterbuck, who is one of Hugo's assistants, rides him at home every day and does a great job with him. She has always kept faith with the horse and said he was back flying today, so fair play to the horse and the team."