Rebel King made a sparkling return to racing with a dominant win in the Listed Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Rebel King had not started since last October’s Listed Birthday Stakes at Belmont, but looked primed after a top trial on Monday.
After being handed a gun ride by Chris Parnham, Rebel King settled in four position behind Battle Hero, who took up the running from Caipirinha.
The Darren McAuliffe-trained Rebel King proved too strong in the straight, overhauling a gallant Battle Hero to score by ¾ of a length.
Battle Hero battled away gamely to hold second position from the fast-finishing Dainty Tess, who sprinted sharply from near last.
Caipirinha, who started an easing favourite, faded to sixth.
Rebel King improved his record to 10 wins from 36 starts and gave McAuliffe his second win in the Listed feature.
The Lark Hill trainer prepared Impressive Stats in 2005 when the race was named the Australia Day Sprint.
Peter Anthonisz, deputising for McAuliffe post-race, was delighted by Rebel King’s win.
“He’s had a lot of injury concerns over the years, but he is just about hitting peak fitness,” Anthonisz said.
“We weren’t sure if he would be right first up, but as soon as you saw him in the yard you would have had a decent size wager on him.
“It was meant to be a quiet trial, but he still managed to run the fastest time on Monday.
“He got a perfect run and Chris rode him perfectly.”