William Buick celebrates winning the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes aboard Ribchester (Image: Twitter - @Ascot)
Ladbrokes Cox Plate invitee Ribchester could yet be a rival to Australian racing heroine Winx at Moonee Valley in October, after a strong win in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) in the Royal Ascot curtain-raiser.
Ribchester shaved 0.49s off the mile track record set by Integral in 2014, winning in 1:36.60s to hand Godolphin's Sheikh Mohammed a winner 40 years to the day after his first in the UK.
Godolphin know all too well how hard it is to beat Winx, with one of their pin-up horses Hartnell running some gallant races behind the superstar mare, including an eight-length second in last year's weight-for-age championship.
Trainer Richard Fahey has picked out another crack at the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next for Ribchester.
Ribchester ran third behind The Gurkha in last year's Sussex. Godolphin has won the race previously with Aljabr (1999), Noverre (2001) and Ramonti (2007).
And if Michelle Payne, rider of Queen Anne fifth-placegetter Kaspersky and future trainer of the horse when it comes down under, has given thought to the Cox Plate, then the door has to be open for Ribchester to head the same way.