Mount Athos underlined his credentials for a return trip to the Melbourne Cup with a tenacious victory in the JLT Aston Park Stakes at Newbury under Jamie Spencer.

Marco Botti's charge (7-2) prevailed by a length from the running-on Forgotten Voice, having outgunned the well-backed Battalion before two out and then easily holding off a strong challenge from third-placed First Mohican, who was a further nose adrift.

The Dr Marwan Koukash-owned gelding was third to Fiorente in the 'race that stops a nation' in Australia in November, beaten less than three lengths.

"He runs very well fresh, but I think the key is the ground as he doesn't want it too fast," said Botti's wife and assistant, Lucia.

"He is very straightforward at home, a pleasure to deal with. He has a big heart and tries very hard. The long-term plan is Melbourne. We haven't really got a plan beforehand except the Goodwood Cup."

Spencer added: "He's a grand little horse, but he's very keen and even today he never left me alone the whole race."

The winner is a best-priced 25-1 with RaceBets for Melbourne.

Royal Ascot could beckon for Cannock Chase, who quickened clear in the manner of a smart performer a furlong out under Ryan Moore to turn the Betfred London Gold Cup into a procession.

The 11-4 joint-favourite received a warm welcome from punters afterwards, having mastered the other joint-favourite Windshear by a length and a quarter, with Extra Noble three-quarters of a length away in third.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute was not present, but assistant Owen Burrows said: "He has got a Group Two entry at Ascot (King Edward VII Stakes), but Ryan said it might just be quick enough today and we'll have to bear that in mind for the future.

"Ryan said look after him because he's pretty smart. We'd like to think he'd progress beyond handicaps and this race often throws up a good one, doesn't it?" (