Odds-on favourite Passage of Time won the Musidora Stakes at York to continue the revival in fortunes for former champion trainer Henry Cecil.
Cecil talks to Hughes after Passage of Time's win
The 5-6 market leader was made to work for victory in a close finish, with Sweet Lilly (15-2) in second.
It was the eighth Musidora victory in the career of Newmarket-based Cecil.
The ten-times champion trainer, who revealed in February he has stomach cancer, will seek a seventh Epsom Oaks win on 1 June with Passage of Time.
Winning jockey Richard Hughes brought his mount to challenge with two furlongs to go in the feature race on the first day of York's Dante meeting.
Sweet Lilly pushed all the way, before Passage of Time prevailed by a neck.
Bookmakers reacted by cutting the odds on Cecil's charge winning the Oaks from a general 3-1 to 9-4.
"I have trained her for the Oaks and hopefully, now she's had a race she'll come right. I thought she just needed the race," said Cecil.
He won the Cheshire Oaks at Chester a week earlier with Light Shift.
Cecil's last Classic success came in 2000 when Love Divine landed the Epsom Oaks.
Tattersalls Musidora Stakes 1m 2½f, York
1 Passage of Time (Richard Hughes) Henry Cecil 5-6f
2 Sweet Lily 15-2
3 Sue's Surprise 8-1
5 ran. Nk