A slashing final furlong from Puissance De Lune at Flemington on Saturday has confirmed the exciting stayer as the Melbourne Cup favourite.
But it wasn't quite enough to win the Group Two Blamey Stakes outright.
In a thrilling finish to the 1600m event at Flemington, Puissance De Lune flew late after being held up early in the straight and was locked together with Budriguez on the line.
Regardless of the result, three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss and trainer Darren Weir got what they wanted from Puissance De Lune's return.
Boss declared the stayer a future Melbourne Cup winner last spring and wasn't backing down from his comments.
"How could you possibly," Boss said.
"That's the least of the distances that he'll be competitive at. Just wait until he gets over a trip."
Starting favourite, Puissance De Lune settled midfield on the fence in running with in-form jockey Craig Williams in the lead on Budriguez ($12).
Boss got caught behind a couple of horses that didn't take him into the race early in the straight before he was able to get his horse into the clear.
Budriguez, in the meantime, had kicked strongly and looked like holding the grey at bay in an upset.
But Puissance De Lune's late charge meant connections shared the spoils.
Wall Street ($5.50) was a long neck away third.
"You could just see the true quality this horse has got because when he got out in the clear he really whipped home," Boss said.
"He made up three lengths very, very quickly and as I went past the line I was a length in front of that horse two strides after the post."
Boss said Puissance De Lune "backed up what I thought he could do" in a cameo autumn appearance, although Weir said he would sit down with owner Gerry Ryan next week to discuss the horse's options.
"It would have been great to win but that's as good as winning," Weir said.
"We were more than happy to see him come back and charge to the line like he did."
Budriguez had won the Group Three Carlyon Cup and placed in the Peter Young Stakes in his past two starts and continued his good autumn form with a gallant performance.