Punters didn't know where to look in the final stages of the Group Three Sha Tin Vase, but trainer John Moore saw everything he wanted to see.
Moore landed his seventh win in the race and his fourth in a row with Charles The Great (Tommy Berry) arriving in the nick of time at the end of the 1,200m to nudge out Best Eleven and Moore's winner of the race 12 months ago, Captain Sweet.
But the trainer was just as happy with the seventh placing for Time After Time (Gerald Mosse), who now awaits only one more ticked box to take his place in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
"That was a great run - these races are very hard to win with 133 pounds for even our best sprinters over the years so to be beaten only half-a-length like that was a really excellent trial for Ascot," said Moore. "I just need the green light from his syndicate of owners now and he'll fly out on the 9th of June, and my feeling is that if he repeats that he'll run very well there."
Jockey Gerald Mosse agreed, saying Time After Time came to win the race but conceding considerable poundage to most of those that beat him home proved too much.
"He came very strongly, I thought he would get there but just the last 50m he came to the end of his run and the light-weighted horses went past," Mosse said.
But Moore was still the winner of the race and Berry was able to snare his second Group win of his stint and continue another Sha Tin Vase trend - the last seven winners have now been ridden by Australian jockeys.
"The horse had worked really well in the mornings and we were pretty happy with him coming into it," Berry said. "Even though he got back and was wide, he did have cover and that suited him because they bunched up around the home turn. He was able to get out in the centre of the track, which was probably the best place to be on the day and he reached out and grabbed his Group win. He did a good job but that's probably his limit."
The one query with the in-form Charles The Great was the switch in venues from Happy Valley to Sha Tin, where he had been placed just once in four starts.
"The Holy Roman Emperors have shown an affinity for Happy Valley and he was racing well there so that's where we kept him racing, but like all of the horses that do well there and get over 100 in the ratings they run out of races and you have to see what they can do at Sha Tin if they're going to go any further," Moore said. "And now he's shown that he's versatile. He'd worked so well, we had plenty of confidence until the barrier draw but that gave him a chance to settle and run home, which has always been what he wants. And it's great to win a Group race for Julian Hui [Chun-hang] - his father's won just about everything as an owner and now he he's following in his footsteps."