Joao Moreira timed it to perfection aboard Beat The Clock to claim the Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.
It looked like everything had gone to plan in the six-furlong affair for red-hot favourite Aethero, who charged to the front under Zac Purton and still led a furlong out.
But his stride began to shorten as the post loomed and he was swamped with 50 yards to run, with the John Size-trained Beat The Clock finishing best of all and Hot King Prawn edging Aethero for second.
It was a second Group One win on the card for Brazilian ace Moreira, as the ‘Magic Man’ also lifted the Vase through Japanese raider Glory Vase.
Size said: “His strength is his character, with a tremendous will to win and fighting spirit. He saves his energy for raceday and gives you everything he’s got.
“It’s really humbling to see him do that. There are some Group Ones here in Hong Kong and the next one at the end of January will be on his agenda.”
Moreira added: “He wasn’t fast enough from the gate, but turning for home I felt I had plenty in my hands and that the way he was coming he was going to win.
“I’ve been associated with this horse for a long time and am proud he’s proved he’s the best sprinter today.”
A new name was etched on the Longines Hong Kong Mile trophy as Admire Mars struck another notable blow for Japan, holding on from Waikuku to deny Moreira a treble.
Much attention surrounded Beauty Generation, the winner for the last two years, and his supporters had reason to be happy as he tracked Ka Ying Star and still looked full of running two furlongs out.
However, the warning signs quickly appeared with a furlong and a half to go and he was unable to resist the charge of Admire Mars and Christophe Soumillon, who in turn just had enough to hold Waikuku, with Beauty Generation having to settle for third.
Soumillon said: “To be honest the first hint I had that we could win this was when I saw Beauty Generation didn’t have the same magic he had last year, so I knew he was beatable.
“My horse was a top two-year-old in Japan last year, he has good gate speed and he enjoyed the ground. I rode my race as if I was the favourite and it paid off.
“I felt Joao coming on the outside, but my horse gave everything. He’s another example that the good breeding programme in Japan is working and their ability to when Group One races all over the world.
“I must also pay my respects to his owner Riichi Kondo who passed away three weeks ago, and I’m proud I took his colours so high today.”
A memorable day for Japan was completed by Win Bright in the Longines Hong Kong Cup.
Having her 12th start of the year – in which time she has travelled to America, Dubai and Australia – Magic Wand had an ideal position through the early exchanges, with the eventual winner immediately behind her.
Both the main protagonists were a touch outpaced at one stage in the straight, but Win Bright soon picked up, as did Magic Wand.
The former had just got first run, though, and held on as Magic Wand surged up his inside.
Winning trainer Yoshihiro Hatakeyama said: “When he arrived here he wasn’t doing that well, but he thrived as the week went on and showed how much he prefers a right-handed course.
“It’s been a great day for Japan and if he is invited he’ll be back for another shot at the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in April.”
Moore said of Magic Wand: “She ran super, she was unlucky. She’s very game.”