Shareholder propelled himself into Royal Ascot contention with a hard-fought victory in the bet365 Two Year Old Trophy Conditions Stakes at Beverley on Saturday.

The son of American sire Not This Time – whose progeny includes Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter – cost €460,000 at the Arqana breeze-up sale last month and was making a speedy racecourse bow in the colours of Wathnan Racing.

Sent off the 6/4 favourite, jockey James Doyle had plenty to contend with early on as Shareholder was slow to jump before taking a keen hold.

Once he got a bit of cover, Karl Burke’s charge found his stride and he switched to the middle of the track to launch his run around a furlong from home.

Moving Force was not going to go down without a battle though and despite having to concede 7lb to the winner, he made Shareholder pull out all the stops with just a short head separating them at the line.

One bookie makes Shareholder the 4/1 second-favourite for the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, with Aidan O’Brien’s Whistlejacket the 7/4 favourite.

“I’m relieved as much as anything, he’s a horse with a big reputation and he was very good at the breeze-ups, but the breeze-ups are a long way from galloping two furlongs on a flat track to five furlongs up a hill here,” said Burke.

“We knew we had a good horse, but it’s nice to get the job done and I’m delighted with his attitude.

“We’ve only had him three weeks, we haven’t had a good run at him really and we haven’t got a lot of time going into Ascot. Today was just planning to see if he was good enough to go to Ascot – we thought he was on his home work and I think he’s just shown there that’s he’s plenty good enough.”

Doyle was equally impressed: “He was a little tardily away and they were going quick in the first few hundred yards, they ripped along and they got a bit of a break on me but we were just keen to try to make it as smooth as possible with him.

“He’s quite racy this fellow and when he got a slow start, he just fired up a little bit and took time to settle back into a rhythm. He moved into the race super and when he popped his head in front, he just got a bit lost and jumped the winning line but I was pretty happy he was always going to hold off the other runner.

“Obviously (the second) had experience and it was our first day at school, so you’d have to be pleased.”

Doyle admitted Not This Time is a new name to him.

“He’s by a stallion I must say I have no real knowledge of really, other than what the form book tells you and he was obviously a high-class horse just beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt. He is a smart-looking horse,” he told Racing TV.